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Special Interest Tour - Victorian Restoration

6 September 2024


Friday 6 September, 11.30am

Visit Ely Cathedral 150 years ago - The major restoration programme and reorganisation of the building is virtually complete!

Begun by Dean George Peacock when he was installed as Dean in 1839 and facilitated by the architect George Gilbert Scott from the time of his appointment in 1847, Ely’s is the most comprehensive restoration of any British Cathedral attempted to date. The building was re-imagined from top to bottom, inside and out in an effort to repair the damage wrought by the Reformation and remove centuries of accretion that obscured a medieval masterpiece.

The tour is intended to be a kind of time travel back to 1871 in order to appreciate the Cathedral as it would have appeared to a visitor at that date. The guide will walk the modern visitor through the building highlighting the Victorian restoration and bringing to life the personalities of the 19th century individuals like the Dean, the clergy, the architect, the painters, the carpenters, the metal smiths who all contributed to creating Ely Cathedral as we know it today.

What's included:
Admission to Ely Cathedral.
An hour's guided tour.
Lunch at the Almonry Restaurant. (This is a 2-course lunch from the daily menu, either a soup starter and main course, or a main course and dessert. The daily menu can be found here. Please note this does not include the specials menu)

Tickets: £25 per person. Tickets must be pre-booked online up to the day before your visit, via the link on this page. This tour is not suitable for children.

Please meet your guide at the west end of the Nave, 5 minutes before your tour is due to start.

I came to the Cathedral with a background in archaeology and in many ways that has coloured my understanding of the building. I find I look at its architectural history as ‘vertical archaeology’. Therefore it was essential that I learn to differentiate between the different periods of construction and importantly reconstruction! This is what led to my interest in the major 19th century Victorian restoration and the inspiration for this time travelling tour. — Your Guide: Will Schenk