Contractor hired to deliver York Minster Centre of Excellence

Specialist heritage contractor Simpson has been appointed to deliver the York Minster Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills.

Having been engaged by the Chapter of York, Simpson will enable the creation of a campus facility for research, education and training in the craft skills required to preserve and maintain the Minster for future generations.

The Centre of Excellence is intended to help prolong the traditional crafts of stonemasonry and glaziery through introduction of cutting-edge technology.

And it is also designed to establish the Minster as “an international example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.”

The funding for the centre is being underwritten through the support of the York Minster Fund, which is also unveiling today a campaign to raise £4m in support of the completion of the project.

Neil Sanderson, director of the York Minster Fund, said: “The Centre of Excellence will deliver long-term sustainable benefits both financially, and in the maintenance of heritage skills to York Minster, the heritage community, and the wider city.

“However, since the initial inception of the idea of the centre in 2018, we have been working against a backdrop of rising costs and supply chain issues, and its full delivery is now expected to cost in excess of £9m, significantly more than at the start of this journey.”

The Minster is inviting organisations and the public to help to support the delivery of this project through donations. Pledges can be made through the York Minster website, or by e-mailing the York Minster Fund at

The Very Rvd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York Minster, added: “The Centre of Excellence is a first-of-its-kind project and is critical for helping us achieve the aims of our wider Neighbourhood Plan, which seeks to secure the environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of the Minster for many years to come.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who already supports the Minster’s work and expensive ongoing upkeep through donations and visits.

“However, we have been hit by multiple challenges since we began this project in 2018, most notably the ongoing volatility of the construction industry.

“We are therefore hopeful of securing further funding and pledges to ensure this once-in-a-lifetime project can be delivered on schedule as planned, with donations being very gratefully received.”

The York Minster Neighbourhood Plan aims to secure a sustainable future for York Minster.

Formally adopted by City of York Council last year, its delivery will signal the largest planned programme of works at the Minster and its surrounding Precinct since the Victorian era.

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