How does the LEGO cathedral help Exeter Cathedral?

13 November 2018

The Big LEGO® Build is a project which aims to raise money for the maintenance of this beautiful and ancient building, whose story goes back over 900 years.

Thanks to donations from people like you we have already made progress towards building a 300,000 piece model of the Cathedral entirely from LEGO bricks!

It’s been fun seeing the “new” Cathedral rise up over the past months, and telling the story of this fundraising challenge to all our visitors. For every £1 you donate you can add a brick to the 21st century LEGO Cathedral, whilst helping to conserve and restore the glorious building around you.

Where does your money go?

All of the money raised from the Build goes towards funding the very real (and expensive) restoration projects that are needed over the next 25 years (!) to help preserve Exeter Cathedral for future generations.

The Cathedral needs a lot of TLC. Construction took place before the days of damp-proof courses , so water penetration and drainage is a problem. In fact, water is a BIG problem along the north wall of the building, which acts rather like a dam against water draining off the water table towards the lower lying land to the south (towards Exeter Quay and the river). Water enters the stonework and has nowhere to go other than the inside of the Cathedral, which in recent years it has caused damage to the foundations, stonework and medieval glazing.

The lead in the roof has unexpected properties. It also ‘flows’  (very slowly but steadily under gravity.). Over time each of the sheets of roof lead will gradually become thinner at the top and thicker at the bottom. and will inevitably be needing replacement. The roof is around 100m in length and the replacement costs are enormous (and no, you can’t just turn them around!)

Bills, bills bills

Next time you visit the Cathedral to take a tour, why not ask your guide about how large the building is. Maintaining this space is a real challenge: warm air rises so we would need to heat up the entire roof space before any warming benefits reach you, the visitor, at floor level. The cost is huge and brings its own problems for the ancient woodwork which stresses under wide temperature fluctuations.

The stonework needs constant attention. Weather and general deterioration from pollution take its toll. We have a dedicated team of Stonemasons who are constantly repairing, replacing and maintaining the stone.

And for added complication this is an ancient monument and works have to be carried out to exacting standards to maintain and conserve the building for future generations.

The Cathedral receives no regular funding from the UK government or the Church of England and running costs are currently £4,000 per day, 365 days a year.

Every penny counts, and we are really grateful if you are able to support the Big LEGO® Build. You can donate £5 by texting LEGO17 £5 to 70070. We’ll then add your bricks to the project.

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