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Purcell completes £8m extension to Blackburn cathedral

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Purcell has taken the wraps off this extension to Blackburn’s Grade II*-listed cathedral 

PROJECT DATAARCHITECT’S VIEW • CONTRACTOR’S VIEW 

The £8 million cathedral court development provides accommodation for the cathedral’s clergy and organ scholars. 

It is thought to be the first group of new residential buildings built at an English cathedral for 500 years. 

Alongside apartments, the scheme also includes a new glazed promenade to the existing cathedral crypt, conference facilities, a library and a refectory. 

Blackburn Cathedral Court by Purcell

Blackburn Cathedral Court by Purcell

Source: Paul McMullin

Architect’s view 

The Cathedral Quarter development and the 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. 

Blackburn Cathedral Court by Purcell

Blackburn Cathedral Court by Purcell

Source: Paul McMullin

Contractor’s view 

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.

Blackburn Cathedral Court by Purcell

Blackburn Cathedral Court by Purcell

Source: Paul McMullin

Project data 

Location Blackburn, Lancashire
Type of project religious
Client Dean & Chapter of Blackburn Cathedral and Blackburn Cathedral Developments
Architect Purcell
Landscape architect Planit
Planning consultant Purcell
Structural engineer Civic Engineers
M&E consultant Aecom
Quantity surveyor DHA
Planning supervisor Kok
Lighting consultant Aecom
Main contractor John Turner Construction 
Funding HCA/ERDF/Local Authority/Cathedral
Appointment interview and tender
Start on site date February 2014
Completion date May 2016
Contract duration 26 months
Gross internal floor area 5,500m2
Form of contract JCT - Standard Form of Contract with Bill of Quantities
Total cost £8 million

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