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Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd and opened in 1967. Built in concrete with portland stone cladding and an aluminium roof, the Cathedral is recognisable by its pinnacle-crowned stained glass lantern tower.

Purcell was appointed to prepare an application to the First World War Centenary Cathedrals Repair Fund for a comprehensive programme of research into the significance, history, and construction of the cathedral lantern. This was to inform an investigation into the causes of water ingress, and finance the production of an Options Appraisal to safeguard the future of this important heritage asset.

It was evident that Frederick Gibberd used pioneering and experimental techniques and materials to create a unique and iconic building. Consideration of the lantern as a significant artwork by Piper and Reyntiens needed to be built into any conservation philosophy. While initial conclusions were drawn and conservation principles established, the lack of conservation precedent made it clear that a longer programme of specialist research was required.

The project was extended with additional support coming from the Getty Foundation’s ‘Keeping It Modern’ programme. A programme of monitoring and analysis has been designed, encompassing the structure and environment of the wider cathedral. 

Purcell developed a Conservation Management Plan to inform lantern repair, and fully document the history of the site. Significance was investigated, creating conservation policies and a framework for future care. A detailed repair methodology for the lantern was developed, modelled, and trialled to inform conservation of the lantern, and to contribute to the conservation of dalle de verre in epoxy resins generally.

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