After a few years in storage, the LEGO® version of Durham Cathedral is being re-built and will go back on display inside the Durham Cathedral Museum in February 2024.
Durham Cathedral in LEGO® is currently being re-built by a team of volunteers with the hope that it will be complete in time for February half term 2024.
After three years in storage, following the Covid-19 pandemic, the structure will be 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 350,000 bricks were added to the model over the next 3 years.
Andrew Usher, Chief Officer for Visitor Experience and Enterprise says:
“Durham Cathedral in LEGO has 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 enabled the team to build the Neville Screen, High Altar, Prior Castell’s Clock and the North Door and local companies came forward to sponsor the build of something linked to their area of work such as the Cathedral’s Organ was bought and built by Durham organ builders Harrison and Harrison.
“Looking back at the original build, we’ve found some wonderful stories of how people came to lay a brick, including a couple who got married at the cathedral and bought a brick for everyone in their wedding party to place as a wedding favour. We discovered that the bricks for the Font were bought by a man named Mr Font and there’s so many other quirky tales to tell. We’re keen to collect and share more of these stories so if there is anyone out there who placed a brick and wants to share their memory can do so via our website.”
Volunteers or ‘LEGO Makers’ also played a huge part in the original build. Led by volunteer Les West, over 40 volunteers sorted bricks, supported people to place their LEGO® piece t 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 is now heading up a new team of volunteers to rebuild the structure in its new home.
The Very Revd Dr Philip Plyming, Dean of Durham says,
“The construction of Durham Cathedral from 1093 was an extraordinary achievement by an amazing group of people. Durham Cathedral in LEGO reflects this story, with many people coming together and creating an inspiring model for us all to enjoy. Just as we thank God for those who built this Cathedral for the glory of God 900 years ago, we thank God for each person who has laid a LEGO brick and played a part in the Cathedral's story today.”
The 350,000 brick model is as accurate a scale representation of the cathedral as possible, spanning 3.84m long, 1.53m wide and 1.7m high.
You can visit the Durham Cathedral in LEGO for free and see the rebuild taking place over the next few weeks before it is fully restored in February. For those wanting to explore the Museum further, tickets are available on arrival.
For more information visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/lego