Event with student volunteers to be one for the books

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University student volunteers are supporting Chester Cathedral colleagues to ensure historic books are conserved for future generations – and the public is invited to watch the work in action.

History and Archaeology students will carry out the work at the Cathedral, as part of a free Chester Heritage Festival week-long event this month.

Experts Naomi Watts-Kitto and Emily Lanigan, from the Cathedral’s Works Department, will train 16 student volunteers to assess the state of books in the Cathedral library, collected by Bishop of Chester, William Jacobson in the 19th-century.

Emily Lanigan
Emily Lanigan (pictured) and Naomi Watts-Kitto from Chester Cathedral will lead History and Archaeology student volunteers in the conservation work.

They will prioritise them for conservation, and complete aspects of the conservation such as cleaning and binding. The work will be open to the public to view in the Cathedral nave, where the students will be happy to discuss their work.

Dr Thomas Pickles, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Chester, said: “This is a great opportunity for Chester students to learn new heritage skills for their future careers, to contribute to the upkeep of the Cathedral’s wonderful book collection, and to raise awareness of the Cathedral as a public place for the people of Chester.”

People can drop in to the Cathedral at St Werburgh Street and see the work on the collection, from Friday June 18 to Friday June 25. The event is open daily (except Sunday) between 10am and 4pm, with COVID safety measures in place. Entry is free, however donations are welcome.

Chester Heritage Festival aims to bring the city’s history to life and to tell the stories that have accumulated over two millennia. The annual event is a partnership led by Cheshire West and Chester Council, Chester Civic Trust, Marketing Cheshire, Chester Cathedral and others, with a host of live and online events organised up until June 28.

For further information on the Festival and the book conservation event please visit: www.chesterheritagefestival.co.uk.