FWP works to turn cathedral heritage vision into reality

Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) has helped deliver the transformation of the Grade 1-listed medieval Fratry at Carlisle Cathedral.

More than a decade since its conception, work on this part of the 900-year-old cathedral complex is now completed – heralding a new chapter for the Cumbrian place of worship.

The work has realised the cathedral’s vision to be a place of “discovery, celebration, challenge and opportunity” - bringing the building into full use by creating spaces for teaching and learning and cultural activity.

The project has redeveloped and extended the Fratry, which was constructed in the 1500s as a monastery refectory and is home to one of the largest cathedral collections of 17th and 18th century books in England.

A new welcome area and public café have been created, providing dedicated space to greet visitors and school groups, and allowing the cathedral to engage with more people in new ways and transform its teaching and learning activities.

Education work will benefit from the newly refurbished undercroft beneath the Fratry hall, which has become an open, uncluttered space able to accommodate 80 people.

Preston-headquartered FWP acted as project manager and quantity surveyor on the sensitive and complex project, which was made possible by a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) grant of almost £2m. Feilden Fowles were the architects and Structure Workshop provided the structural engineering expertise.

The project also involved essential conservation work to the building’s roof and stonework. Sandstone was chosen for the pavilion to blend in with the existing stonework.

Entry to the Fratry is now through a lightweight, fully-glazed bronze structure accessed via stairs or lift at the southern end of the pavilion.

FWP partner Kate Shuttleworth said: “It really is a striking development and heralds a new chapter for this historic and much cherished cathedral. It means that one of the most significant heritage buildings in the city will be open to all.

“The work has been the most significant physical intervention on the site for more than 150 years and has brought the building, constructed in the 1400s, back to life as a centre of cultural and community life.

“The development has not been without challenges and we have worked closely with architects Feilden Fowles and Structure Workshop. Completing and successfully delivering this project on such a sensitive site has given everyone involved at FWP a real sense of achievement.”

The Dean of Carlisle, The Very Reverend Mark Boyling, said: “We are thrilled to have the Fratry brought back to life. We now have wonderful spaces in which to tell the cathedral’s stories of faith, hope and love, as we serve the city, the county and our visitors.

“This has not been a project for the fainthearted; it has been a tremendous team effort. FWP has been proactive and purposeful in project managing an ambitious development that has not been without its complications.

“The result is a building worthy of this site, which in every way meets the Chapter’s brief to make the Fratry an asset to the cathedral and the city.”

As well as the NLHF grant, the work has been made possible by generous donations from the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral, grant-making trusts and members of the public.

Preston-headquartered FWP has built a strong reputation for its expertise on sensitive restoration and regeneration projects.

It is part of the team currently delivering the £16m redevelopment of Rochdale's grade I-listed town hall - another NLHF-funded programme.

FWP also led the £5m restoration of the historic fish market canopy and the main outdoor market canopy in Preston city centre. The listed structures have both undergone extensive refurbishment restoring them to their former glory.

FWP, which has offices in Preston, Manchester and London, has extensive experience in both project and cost management in a wide range of sectors.

For more information on its wide portfolio of projects please visit www.fwpgroup.co.uk

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