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News Release Issued by York Minster

Go behind the scenes at York Minster’s Stoneyard during England’s biggest heritage festival

See hidden corners of York Minster and learn about the ancient craft skills used to preserve the 800-year-old cathedral when its Stoneyard opens its doors for England’s biggest heritage festival.

The annual Stoneyard open day will take place on Friday 11 September as part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme, which celebrates the country’s fantastic history, architecture and culture.

See the Minster’s stonemasons and joiners at work and learn about how they repair, restore and protect the cathedral’s historic fabric using techniques passed down over centuries.

Explore a hidden corner of the Minster – the Mason’s Loft - where the Master Mason would draw out full size designs from which templates would be made to create stones for the cathedral. The loft still features drawings from the Master Mason in the 1400s, when the space was last in use.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the Stoneyard, including access to special areas like the Drawing Office and plaster cast museum, and learn about past and current projects, including the huge programme of work to restore the cathedral’s East End, which is one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe.

Other highlights include the chance to visit York Minster’s learning centre and see how the cathedral has evolved over the last 1000 years to the building we see today. Discover medieval building techniques, see a working replica of the Minster’s Tracing Floor and watch digital illustrations of the Minster’s architectural evolution through the centuries from the 1080 Norman cathedral to the largest medieval Gothic cathedral in northern Europe.

John David, York Minster’s Master Mason, explained: “The open day is a great opportunity for members of the public to enjoy access to areas normally off-limit, learn about the challenges of maintaining one of the world’s greatest cathedrals and see demonstrations of some of the specialist craft and trade skills that keep the building in good repair.”
Admission to the Open Day and all tours are free, with the event running from 9.30am to 3pm at the Stoneyard at 4 Deangate, York. Guided tours of the Drawing Office and plaster cast museum will be on the hour, every hour until 2pm.

Sessions at York Minster’s learning centre will take place at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm (all lasting one hour).

Visitors can sign-up at the Stoneyard on the day for tours of the Stoneyard and sessions at the Learning Centre.
Hidden tours of the Masons Loft will take place at 12.30pm, 1.15pm, 2.45pm and 3.30pm and last approximately 30 minutes. Spaces are limited and advance booking is recommended by emailing or calling 01904 557200.

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For media enquiries please contact:
Leanne Woodhurst – Communications Manager – t: 01904 559534m: 07824 017585

Sharon Atkinson – Director of Communications – t: 01904 557248 m: 07785 615457

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