The restoration to the Cathedral of St. Michael and All Angels is moving ahead.
Three years after work began on the 300-plus-year old building, Chairman of the Trustees, the organisation responsible for the restoration, Dr. Hartley Richards told the media they were rapidly moving ahead to try to get it completed.
Speaking at the Cathedral in St. Michael’s Row, the City, Richards said the project had been delayed because of a number of factors. He explained that finances was one, as well, since Historic Bridgetown and Its Garrison was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the building was located there, there were a number of specifics they had to follow.
For example, the shingles on the roof had to be replaced in their identical manner with the same kind of material used when it was first constructed. Nevertheless he assured that these things were do-able and the project would proceed, though cautiously.
The complete undertaking will cost an estimated $10 million and Bishop of Barbados, Dr. John Holder admitted they were still a long way off from reaching that figure but this morning Chairman of the Cathedral restoration project, Sir Richard Cheltenham made a presentation of a $15,000 cheque to aid in the effort. The money will go towards the publishing of the second edition of Professor Henry Fraser’s successful Historic Churches of Barbados publication. All of the proceeds of this book will be donated to the restoration fund. First published in 1986, this book will be a continuation of that work.
Fraser said it will comprise full colour photos by photographer Mike Toy as well as an extension of the notes and photographs of architect Barbara Hill which were carried in the first edition. In addition to much more information which he would have gained in the more than 25 years since the book’s publishing. The first edition sold about 4,500 copies and he was hopeful this version would as well sell very good.
“It will be a very rich book which will look great on your table and will be a gift for everyone of your friends. The cathedral is one of the top 10 architecture and historical treasures of Barbados. From the sale of the book we will be able to raise a considerable amount of money. We are really excited about this because it is timely… we have just had the series on CBC TV Pillars Of Worship so we hope that we have woken people to the beauty of our churches and by doing so that they will get involved and more people would come together and make donations to the project,” he said.
The publishers, Miller Publishing are working towards a publication deadline of Easter 2014. In the first instance 3,000 will be published.
The St. Michael’s Cathedral is the mother church of all Anglican churches in the island. It was first built in the 1660’s but in 1780 it was partially damaged by a hurricane, in 1784 it was rebuilt as the result of a lottery.
The church was described as an architectural, an historical and a social treasure.
Sir Richard added that it is the spiritual centre of the diocese of Barbados and all Barbadians should feel, in spite of wherever they worship, it important that the cathedral be restored. (KC)