The first bricks to recreate Durham Cathedral from Lego have been laid by historian and TV presenter Jonathan Foyle.
The reconstruction is being created to raise money for the Cathedral’s Open Treasure project – a major development which will transform the way in which visitors experience the building.
Visitors will now be able to donate £1 and receive a brick to place on the model.
Yesterday TV presenter Mr Foyle was at the cathedral to lay the first brick.
He said: “Amongst Britain’s buildings, Durham Cathedral stands in the front rank. When a 10-foot-long Lego model seems a formidable prospect, it reminds us of the amazing achievement of its builders almost 1,000 years ago, a story to be revealed through the Open Treasure project.”
The 200,000-brick Lego model will be an accurate representation of the cathedral and will span 1.7 metres in height and 1.53 metres wide. The Lego quire and nave will slide apart so that the interior of the cathedral can also be viewed. On completion, visitors will be given the chance to re-create the Miner’s Gala service in the Nave using Lego figures.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, said: “The aim of Open Treasure is to enhance the cathedral’s welcome to visitors by transforming historic buildings around the Cloister into outstanding exhibition spaces.
“Our marvellous collections of manuscripts, books and religious artefacts from Saxon times to the modern era deserve to be seen by a far wider public.
“Alongside the exhibitions, we intend to open up new opportunities for people of all ages to discover and enjoy their heritage with a stimulating programme of activities and events. Building a Lego cathedral as part of our public appeal will help make Open Treasure possible.”
Hargreaves Services plc is sponsoring the build as is a consortium of the Open Treasure Construction Team.
Mike O’Sullivan, of Esh Winning-based Hargreaves Services plc, said: “Hargreaves is delighted to be in at the start of this exciting project – and we urge everybody else to get involved, too. And think: for just ï¿½1 you can tell everyone you know that you too helped to build Durham Cathedral.”
Visitors can buy bricks at the Cathedral and personally place them on the structure with the help of trained Lego volunteers from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 4pm and Sunday from noon to 4pm.
Donations can also be made online at www.durhamcathedral.co.uk and the team of trained Lego Maker volunteers will add bricks for donations received.