Work on St Albans Cathedral has entered a new phase, as Thomas Sinden is appointed principal contractor for the expansion and renovation of one of the nation’s highest-profile Cathedrals
The contractor is currently working on the construction of a new single-storey Heritage Lottery Funded Welcome Centre, which will sympathetically connect the main Grade I listed Cathedral to its 1980s Chapter House building.
Set within the archaeologically sensitive ‘Monk’s Graveyard’ site in Sumpter Yard, the Welcome Centre will provide a new visitor entrance, retail space, interpretation and exhibition areas, the relocated vestry, and provide new level access.
Alterations to the Chapter House interiors are also being undertaken to renovate the existing café, provide additional education spaces, and improve accessibility at all levels through the creation of new lift access and washroom facilities.
Graeme Sinden, Director of Thomas Sinden commented: “We have a proven track record of delivering high profile heritage projects and are extremely proud to be the principal contractor on the renovation of one of the nation’s highest profile cathedrals.”
On the Welcome Centre’s new facilities, the Dean said: “It will be bright and welcoming, with views through the ceiling up to the Tower and from the Slype onto the orchard, with a newly refurbished shop and café and new information screens to guide visitors around the building.”
Since the Dean’s visit, more visible progress has been made. The flint and red brick walls are going up with speed, the roof beams are being installed and the stone pillars forming the new Slype windows are in place.
The new building is part of a major redevelopment programme which will boost awareness of the historic church’s 1,700-year history. The church was built on the burial site of Alban – Britain’s first Christian martyr. The ancient structure is thought to be Britain’s first Christian shrine and the country’s longest serving centre of Christian worship.
The project will create a new exhibition focussing on the unique history of the church which currently receives 160,000 visitors a year. The main Cathedral and Deanery buildings remain open to staff and the public throughout the duration of works.
Thomas Sinden was established in 1991 by founding partners Des Thomas and Graeme Sinden and has earnt the reputation for delivering award-winning new build and refurbishment projects throughout London and the South East. The company works with both public and private companies, ranging from government departments, local authorities, housing associations, schools, colleges and charitable trusts.