Long-awaited new toilets and storage space at Salisbury Cathedral are being built in an area known as Little Paradise between the Chapter House and the south transept.
R Durtnell & Sons from Farnborough are carrying out the construction work using Chicksgrove Chilmark limestone (from the quarry just 13 miles west of Salisbury) with flint and random rubble Chicksgrove walling.
R Durtnell & Sons have a long and distinguished history stretching back to 1591 but cannot claim to have been involved in the original building of the Cathedral, which was completed in 1258 after just 38 years’ work.
Chairman Alex Durtnell said “We are delighted to be involved with this historic project at Salisbury Cathedral. We relish challenging and also heritage work, and we see this project as both of those. All involved at
R Durtnell & Sons Ltd are greatly looking forward to working with the project team and to what will undoubtedly be a great end result.”
The new Little Paradise building replaces the existing temporary and inadequate structures and will enhance the appearance of the south side of the cathedral buildings. It is designed to harmonise with the Cathedral and have minimal impact on the fabric, with access being through an existing doorway in the east cloister wall.
The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, said “We are keen to make the Cathedral more welcoming and comfortable for all who come here, and this resource will undoubtedly help with that. Our existing facilities really don’t do justice to the other aspects of our hospitality and a lack of space means some bulky items are stored in parts of our cloisters, detracting from that beautiful and reflective space.
“Little Paradise is the ancient name for the area between the Cathedral and the Chapter House and it will, I hope, bring much comfort to those who visit it in the future!”
The work is expected to be completed by the end of November, ready for the Advent and Christmas services at the Cathedral.
Friends of Salisbury Cathedral have funded the project and are committed to raising more money to see it finished.
This new building, together with restoration work on the north cloister, continues preparations for the celebrations in 2015 of the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta by King John. The Cathedral has one of the four surviving exemplars of the historic document.