Blackburn Cathedral clergy residence completes

An £8m development designed by architects Purcell to provide accommodation for Blackburn Cathedral’s clergy has reached completion. (GALLERY)

Cathedral Court, part of the wider Blackburn Cathedral Quarter regeneration project, contains accommodation for the cathedral’s organ scholars and apartments for clergy.

It is believed to be the first group of new domestic buildings at any English cathedral for over 500 years. The cathedral itself was built in 1826 and was granted cathedral status in 1926, but stands on a foundation that is believed to date back to 596.

Cathedral Court has been planned for 20 years and was made possible through a partnership between the Cathedral Chapter, Blackburn with Darwen Council, the Homes & Communities Agency and the European Regional Development Fund.

As well as offering residential accommodation, Cathedral Court includes a new glazed promenade to the currently underused cathedral crypt, conference facilities, library and refectory.

In April, a new 60-bed hotel completed as part of the wider masterplan. The new Northcote cafe opened in June.

Canon Andrew Hindley, Canon Sacrist, commented: “This building has been delivered by the determination of many, many people. It has had a number of false dawns and almost didn’t happen. It has already been and will continue to be life changing and life giving in so many ways to the Cathedral Community, the people of Blackburn and the County and beyond.”

Purcell Partner James Sanderson commented: “I am so proud to be a part of what has become the catalyst for regeneration in the heart of Blackburn. The Cathedral Quarter Development and new Cathedral Court mark a re-birth to this part of the town centre. It will boost the local economy, enhance leisure and cultural facilities and is already bringing new commercial opportunities to Blackburn. This is a milestone both for Blackburn and for contemporary ecclesiastical architecture, and I hope will act as inspiration to other Cathedrals across the country to show the positive effect of collaborative working between private, public, community and Cathedral stakeholders.”

Nigel Sharp, operations director at main contractor John Turner Construction, said: “We are extremely proud to have been the main contractor for the prestigious Cathedral Court development at Blackburn Cathedral over the last 26 months. Delivering this high quality project brought us the opportunity to combine modern building techniques and materials such as glulam timber frames and self-cleaning render with more traditional construction methods using natural and reclaimed materials. Contributing to sustainability, stone and limestone flooring from the Cathedral’s former St Mary’s House was reclaimed and used on the new development where the original building interfaces with the new. Local tradesmen, suppliers and materials were used where possible, with the ashlar jointed sandstone and the engraved foundation stone being sourced locally from a quarry in Longridge and then worked by local stonemasons. The bespoke oak staircases and doors were manufactured by our in-house joinery facility along with the hardwood fascia and soffit features. Working within the cathedral setting was a satisfying and rewarding experience and with the collaborative can do attitude of all the stakeholders, the completed Cathedral Court is a credit to everyone involved.”

Images by Paul McMullin

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I like this, modern but with a traditional feel and an empathy to it’s surroundings, well done guys.

By Man on bicycle

I like it too, the stonework ties the old in with the new. Not the first in 500 years though, Liverpool did the same in the 1980s but this is very well done!

By Alfie

I’ve visited the new new Cathedral development a couple of times – it really is an inspirational take on modern vernacular. So hard to pull off convincingly but, here Purcell deliver with aplomb. Well done! I think this just may be a classic.