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Blackburn Cathedral is part of a larger regeneration plan called Blackburn Cathedral Quarter. The Cathedral Court part of the development, adjoining Blackburn Cathedral, consists of new cathedral offices, library, refectory, housing, underground car park and enclosed cloister garden.

The Cathedral itself was built in 1826 and was granted cathedral status in 1926, but stands on a foundation that is believed to date back to the year 596. The current car park has been moved underground and that former space is now a new cloister garden. This Cloister Garth is the first cloister arrangement on an English cathedral for 600 years.

The Cathedral Court Development is a result of 20 years of planning and building and this project on its own came to £8m in construction cost.

Clergy Court provides a new multi-functional hub to the cathedral precinct, and will bring town centre living back into the heart of the precinct through provision of new townhouses for the cathedral’s Canons and Dean.

Northcote cafe was opened on the ground floor on the north side of the building and has been hugely popular with tourists and locals. It sets in stone Blackburn’s new era of cultural regeneration.

Previously the area was very dark and intimidating at night, but with the new accommodation, the site is lit, welcoming and inhabited on a 24-7 basis. A new 60 bed hotel (also by Purcell) has also been built as part of the wider Blackburn Cathedral Quarter masterplan, giving the area a lively buzz.

Each of the new buildings is intended to both sit harmoniously side by side while at the same expressing their own distinct qualities of form and use.

Designed as a series of courtyard and open spaces framed by perimeter buildings, the scheme inherently makes excellent use of natural light. As a series of smaller spaces the courtyard style gardens offer both a degree of protection from blustery weather while allowing natural light penetration into all habitable spaces.

Clergy court effectively forms a ‘cloister’ to the southern side of the cathedral. In form and scale it is reminiscent of typical cathedral typology. As such it continues a recognizable lineage of English cathedral architecture, while providing a high-quality and contemporary design addition appropriate to the status of the precinct.

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