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Durham Cathedral in LEGO® opens for February Half Term

After a few years in storage, the LEGO® version of Durham Cathedral has been re-built and will be on display inside the Durham Cathedral Museum for February half term.

Durham Cathedral in LEGO® has been lovingly re-built by a team of volunteers since December 2023 with the aim that it will be complete in time for families visiting over February half term.

After three years in storage, following the Covid-19 pandemic, the structure is now housed in a new location in the Monks' Dormitory of the Durham Cathedral Museum.

Durham Cathedral in LEGO®, was an ambitious fundraising project from 2013 to 2016 which saw the cathedral recreated in LEGO® bricks. This imaginative fundraising initiative was first developed to support the development of the Durham Cathedral Museum, then named 'Open Treasure'.

The model was built by members of the public, with each brick representing a £1 donation and since the first brick was laid on 11 July 2013, over 300,000 bricks were added to the model over the next 3 years.

Andrew Usher, Chief Officer for Visitor Experience and Enterprise says: 

“We're delighted to be able to bring back Durham Cathedral in LEGO, as it holds a special place in people’s hearts. Not only does it represent the first large-scale LEGO model to be built by members of the public, but also represents the many stories from the thousands of people, businesses and community groups who added their bricks.”

The original build of Durham Cathedral in LEGO® proved to be an eye-catching and popular way to raise money from both members of the public as well as businesses. Large donations from generous individuals and local companies enabled the team to build the Neville Screen, High Altar, Prior Castell’s Clock and the North Door. The structure was taken down in sections so rebuilding it has taken a much shorter time, but has still taken careful planning and attention to detail from the team.

Andrew continues,

“Rebuilding the model over the past few months has been a labour of love by a team of volunteers. Every week we've seen the structure get bigger with more intrictae details being added. We know how much Durham Cathedral in LEGO means to people and we want to celebrate its return. As well as hosting a week of family friendly crafts and activities and a photo competition to win a LEGO camera we're also hoping to ask one of our visitors to place the last brick."

Volunteers or ‘LEGO Makers’ also played a huge part in the original build. Led by volunteer Les Hancock, over 40 volunteers sorted bricks, supported people to place their LEGO® piece and tracked where people came from so there was a record of the thousands of people from across the UK and the rest of the world who added a brick.

Les supported the build and also the takedown of the original cathedral and has been heading up a new team of volunteers to rebuild the structure in its new home over the past three months.

The Very Revd Dr Philip Plyming, Dean of Durham says,

'Ten years ago on a visit to Durham my two sons placed bricks in the original build, and it connected us afresh with the wonderful place that is Durham Cathedral. It is fantastic to see the whole model back on display and open to all to visit.'  

The 300,000 brick model is as accurate a scale representation of the cathedral as possible, spanning 3.84m long, 1.53m wide and 1.7m high. 

Philip continues,

'Durham Cathedral in LEGO takes your breath away.  It is a reminder of the precious gift of creativity which comes from God - a gift which saw the original Durham Cathedral built for God's glory, and now this tremendous model.  Come and be amazed!'

Durham Cathedral in LEGO® will be on permanent display in the Durham Cathedral Museum, with no admission charge. For those wanting to explore the Museum further, tickets are available on arrival.

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