LITTLE-KNOWN artistic and architectural treasures will go on public show thanks to £4.4m in grants to two Yorkshire cathedrals, a university library and an art gallery.
Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield and Barnsley will benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund grants which will help restore and reveal “hidden” heritage.
In Leeds, a £1.3m grant will help the university make the most of its huge collection of rare manuscripts, photographs and books.
The university is expecting work to start next spring on two new climate-controlled public galleries in its Parkinson building to showcase some of the 200,000 books and thousands of manuscripts.
The “Treasures of the Brotherton” galleries should be open by November next year.
University Vice Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: “We are incredibly proud of our library with its special collections of international importance which have been built up over the past century.
“I am delighted that this grant will allow us to bring these treasures to a much wider audience.”
A grant of £1.8m for Wakefield Cathedral will pay for the repair of the medieval quire (seating area) and Edwardian East End of the Grade I-listed building.
Lighting, underfloor heating and display cases will be installed to enable visitors to view cathedral artefacts.
Drama and storytelling events will also encourage more people to visit the cathedral.
The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener, Dean of Wakefield, said: “The previous work in the nave has allowed us to open up the building to the whole community.
“This new project will revive and renew the historic heart of the cathedral, and produce a building of which Wakefield and the whole region can be really proud.”
In Sheffield, St Marie’s Cathedral, receives £496,000 to restore Victorian tilework, the Lewis organ and rare alabaster sculptures as well as providing visitors and worshippers with a wealth of historic information.
The organ, which dates from 1875, is the largest, unaltered instrument manufactured by Lewis & Company remaining in the UK.
The beautiful ceramic tiles show pictorial scenes and are inscribed with the names of Sheffield parishioners and the clergy who served in the church.
The 15th century alabaster relief panels are among the few in the country that survived the English Reformation in the 16th century.
Father Christopher Posluszny, Dean of St Marie’s Cathedral, said: “The whole community of St Marie’s is absolutely delighted with the Heritage Lottery Fund’s grant, which will allow us to share with the people of Sheffield and further afield wonderful stories and objects that have been hidden until now.”
The Cooper Gallery in Barnsley gets £638,000 for an extension to create more display space, allowing a larger proportion of the gallery’s collection of 18th, 19th, and 20th century paintings to be shown.
As well as exhibiting works by JWM Turner and the Bloomsbury Group, the project will give visitors information about the collectors – many of whom were local, wealthy figures.
Paul Elmhirst, chairman of the Cooper Gallery Trustees, said: “The HLF grant will enable us to fulfil our ambitions to transform and promote the Cooper Gallery which will make a major contribution to the cultural experience in Barnsley for years to come.”