York Minster is set to become a global centre for the heritage industry as an "incredibly exciting" new development nears completion.

As previously reported by The Press, the new centre of excellence will provide a state-of-the-art workshop for Minster stonemasons and craftspeople, as well as a centre for apprentices to live and learn traditional heritage craft.

The new £8.5 million Heritage Quad and Works and Technology hub is part of the York Minster precinct neighbourhood plan- which aims to develop the entire 17-acre precinct around the cathedral.

York Minster's director of works and precinct, Alex McCallion, speaking at the ongoing construction site, said: "What's coming is an incredibly exciting opportunity.

"We want to always make sure heritage crafts are at the centre of everything we do."

York Press: The current site for where the apprentices will live, in the heritage quadThe current site for where the apprentices will live, in the heritage quad (Image: Harry Booth)

One key features of the new centre of excellence is the opportunities for collaboration across the world's heritage industry, having already worked closely with Christ Church Cathedral in New Zealand and the Washington National Cathedral in the United States.

The collaboration will allow York Minster and its partners to share skills and techniques around maintaining heritage sites across the planet.

Alex said: "What has been clear is that every heritage institute is grappling with many of the same issues."

When talking about the technology being implemented at the centre, he added: "We are embracing the future to care for the past."

Included in the new centre's development is four sites for solar panels across the precinct, which will provide power to all the heating for the works and technology hub.

There will also be an incorporation of computer-aided design (CAD) technology, as well as the installation of three stone saws, to cut the stone before the stonemasons finish it by hand.

York Press: The Minster Centre of ExcellenceThe Minster Centre of Excellence (Image: Harry Booth)


Alex said: "This really started through the York Minster funds research and development project, which began in 2018

"If we didn't do this now, we might not have a department to do this in the future

"The brief we gave the architects was to inspire the next generation of crafts people."

The workshop is set to be completed in June, and Heritage Quad in August. The centre of excellence is set to not only host and promote heritage crafts, but foster a generation of apprentices to ensure the Minster remains in good hands.

Alex said: "What's coming is an incredibly exciting opportunity, knowing our beloved Minster is going to be cared for."

Alex also thanked local residents and businesses for their patience and cooperation during the development of the centre.