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Sunrise Stained Glass Studio

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A major restoration project of the leaded glass to the main West Window

at Guildford Cathedral, Surrey, UK

Amongst the many varied restoration and conservation projects to the stained and leaded glass of numerous churches, chapels, school chapels and other places of worship that the Sunrise studio team have been involved with, Guildford Cathedral’s great West windows must have been amongst some of the largest and highest windows that we have worked on.

Read about the work of the Sunrise restoration team to the leaded stained glass at Chichester Cathedral.....

South Transept: Restoration of the tracery and seven - light stained glass windows of the South Transept was completed at Chichester Cathedral in 2002.  The Patron Prince Charles visited Chichester in June 2003 to view the results.


Follow the link below to see more of our restoration of the cathedral stained glass over the past 20 years at Chichester.

Prince Charles at Chichester

RESTORATION OF GUILDFORD CATHEDRAL LEADED STAINED GLASS


GUILDFORD Cathedral, Surrey - an imposing landmark

From its commanding hilltop position, Guildford Cathedral is an imposing landmark. Inside, there is tranquility, peace, beauty, lightness and space, created by the interior of pale Somerset sandstone and white Italian marble floors. From road and rail by day, and by night, its modern splendour can be admired from miles around and it is floodlit to spectacular effect at night.  Most of all it deserves to be viewed from the inside where the honey coloured stone and Italian marble floors combine with soaring arches giving an impression of lightness, space and tranquillity.


Modernist Style Cathedral Stained Glass

The leaded stained glass windows delicately illuminate the simple interior of this modern building. Against a mostly clear glazing scheme the occasional coloured leaded panels seem to magnify the purity of the overall scheme, filtering the light and enhancing the quiet splendour of this great space.



The Need for Restoration of the Cathedral Stained Glass

The three great West Front leaded stained glass windows stretch a lofty 15 metres to the roof. After forty years, the west windows had failed, letting in copious amounts of rain and damaging the brick and plaster. Following extensive reglazing by restoration team at Sunrise studio, which included removing and releading every pain of the hand-made antique reamy glass, the scaffolding was removed in time for the Easter 2008 services.


Sunrise Stained Glass studio was appointed the Main Contractor for the large-scale leaded stained glass restoration project by the architects Freeland, Rees Roberts on behalf of the Dean and Chapter of Guildford Cathedral. Our restoration team were able to plan a rolling program of works that would accommodate the usual services and life of Guildford Cathedral to continue as undisturbed as possible whilst restoration of the leaded stained glass was in progress.


Finally work began in December 2007 to remove all of the windows to the West Front of the Cathedral. Even though the studio was given a very short time frame (with many days over the Christmas period when work had to be suspended for services) in which to complete the work the project was completed satisfactorily within the very short contract period specified of only ten weeks.  As the Main Contractor Sunrise studio was required to fulfil all aspects of the restoration, including the provision of scaffolding, specialist conservation stone cleaning and repairs to the stonework, frames and ferramenta where needed.  In addition the ornamental ferramenta ‘Fleur de Lis’ were re-gilded to fully restore the majestic West Front. Sunrise Studio Director John Tarrant was the project manager and oversaw all aspects of the Construction Phase Plan, including Health & Safety and on-site management, including the details of safe loading of materials and removal of waste from the site.


As the photos of the cathedral stained glass illustrate, there were some dizzying heights to work from up on the scaffolding, in addition to the elevated position of Guildford Cathedral itself on Stag Hill. This did, however, give us a rare opportunity to take some photographs of the Cathedral interior from an unusually good vantage point high up in the roof. (On a clear day the London Eye is visible from the rooftop).




Sunrise studio craftsmen at work  high up on the scaffolding Sunrise studio restoration team  removing the three great  15 Metre high windows

History of Guildford Cathedral

As the population of South East England grew during the early part of the twentieth century, the Diocese of Winchester was divided into three sections. The Diocese of Guildford was formed in 1927 from part of the ancient Diocese of Winchester and covers an area of about 500 sq miles incorporating most of Surrey, North East Hants and touches on West Sussex and Outer London. The section in the north became the new Diocese of Guildford and Dr John Grieg was appointed the first Bishop in 1927. Initially, Holy Trinity Church in Guildford High Street was used as the Cathedral, but it soon became clear that it was not large enough.  In 1928, the Diocese resolved to build a new Cathedral.


A competition for the design of the new cathedral was held and the winner of the competition was Edward Maufe and he was appointed Cathedral Architect in 1933. Despite many setbacks and difficulties, the Cathedral was finally consecrated in May 1961. The consecration service was carried out by Bishop George Reindorp in the presence of HM The Queen, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a packed congregation from all parts of the Diocese. However, at this stage, the building was not complete. There remained to be built the Western Porches (the Garths), the Sacristy, the Lady Chapel and the Chapter house. Also, the tower was incomplete. These projects were not finished until 1966. The cathedral stained glass is predominantly a clear glazing scheme to compliment the modernist architectural style of the building.

Work has continued in subsequent years, but much remains to be done. The latest addition to the Cathedral was in 2005 with the completion of the statues on the West Front. The emphasis now is on the development of the surrounding land.

Re-gilded Fleur-de-Lis Restored West Front Windows

Removing the scaffolding from  the West Front Guildford Cathedral Interior Guildford Cathedral sunset

Read more about our cathedral stained glass restorations at Chichester…. Guildford Cathedral West Front See more stained glass window photos.....