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Unique Piece Of Durham Cathedral Takes Pride Of Place At Learning Curve Group HQ

One of the highest stones from Durham Cathedral’s Central Tower has a new home at Learning Curve Group (LCG) in Durham Gate, Spennymoor after it helped to raise £19,500 for the ongoing programme of restoration at the Cathedral.

At the 2018 North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner an auction was held to win the 150-year-old stone which had formerly been in place at the top of the Cathedral’s Central Tower before it was removed and replaced. LCG were successful at auction with a £6,500 bid. This amount formed part of £75k raised that year, a figure which was doubled at the Dinner this year.

Matthew Kirk, Durham Cathedral relationship and development manager said: “We were thrilled when LCG won this fabulous stone at last year’s Chamber annual dinner auction at the Cathedral. For the past three years we’ve been removing and replacing a number of stones from the Cathedral’s tower and this stone was one of the finest we removed. We are glad to know this stone, which has stood guard over Durham for over 150 years, will have a new life welcoming people to the LCG building. LGC’s bid will contribute to the repair and maintenance of the Cathedral for many years to come. Not only have they bought a little piece of Durham’s history but they’ve also helped safeguard the future.”

Neil Whittaker, LCG said: “As a business that has been based in Durham since its inception, it’s an honour to have such a remarkable piece of history standing proudly at our head office. We hope that all our 430+ members of staff are proud of its origin and our visitors enjoy admiring such a brilliant piece of local history.”

Daniel Marsden-Knight, Chamber events programme and development manager said: “It is a tremendous privilege for us to be able to hold our Annual Dinner in Durham Cathedral, which is part of the county’s iconic World Heritage Site. The partnership between the Chamber and the Cathedral is fantastic for our members who attend the unique annual event in the Nave and take pride from knowing that attending, they are supporting the Cathedral’s restoration at the same time.”

The painstaking job of transporting the stone safely to its at its new home at LCG’s Durham Gate office and installing it at the property’s entrance was undertaken by Newton Aycliffe-based warehousing and distribution company Stiller. The company offered to deliver the stone free of charge at the event and carried out their promise with no issues.

The stone in question is an open tracery upper course stone which once sat at the top of one of the crenels, at the top of the tower. Open tracery is a style of carving where the decoration is visible from the outside of the stone. The decoration features a double quatrefoil design with the four points in the inner arch creating a clover like pattern.

Brought from Prudham Quarry in 1859, the stone was placed on the tower in approximately 1860. It was removed from the tower during the first phase of restoration work in 2016 with some of the other tracery stones.

There is now a further opportunity for other organisations and members of the public to own a piece of the Cathedral’s history for themselves. On 19 October, between 1 to 3pm, Durham Cathedral is holding a stone auction, which is the first of its type for the UNESCO World Heritage Site, will see stones taken from the top of the Central Tower during its recent renovation work, available to purchase and take home.

Bidding for a stone will support Durham Cathedral’s Foundation 2020 endowment fund for ongoing restoration and maintenance work. You can find out more about the auction here:

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