A New Suite of Liturgical Furniture

Published: 19 June 2017

Easter Sunday witnessed the consecration of the new suite of liturgical furniture to support the installation of the Stoller Organ by The Right Reverend Mark Ashcroft, Bishop of Bolton. The furniture at a cost of just over £200,000 was created by Mike Mcintosh the head designer at Treske from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, in consultation with Martyn Coppin, Chair of the Fabric Advisory Committee and John Prichard, Cathedral Architect.

The furniture is designed on a concentric basis, with the central focal point of the special altar positioned on the raised dais in front of the historic screen above which supports the Stoller Organ. The Altar which is really special was sponsored by the Duchy of Lancaster, using an historic British and extremely rich and featured rare burr Elm top, with bronze inlay in some of the fissures in the wood. Arranged around the altar are the three celebrants chairs and like all the other pieces of furniture are made from specially chosen European walnut veneer all taken from one tree. The principal items of the altar, and the celebrants chairs all have gold leaf applied to their exposed edges and in their grooves.

The first row of children’s choir stalls have flashes of red on their edges and on the sides of the grooves cut into the curved faces, contrasting with the blue on the adult versions sitting behind, we are very grateful for the support of the Freemason in East Lancashire and London for sponsoring this major element. These colours on the choir stalls are taken from and echo the screen behind. The other furniture, seating and readers for the clergy and dignitaries are colour coded to match their positions.

The insignia of the Dean, Sub Dean, Bishop, as well as the Lord Lieutenant are made in gold plated steel and fixed to the chair backs allowing great definition and detail. Throughout the design the work has been aware of its position in relation to the wider cathedral, screen and organ, and has achieved a subtlety that blends in with the magnificent interior. Metal work finishes off the work.

The choir have specially designed candle holders to fit into the stalls while the civic pride of Manchester is emphasised through a series of bronze sculptures designed by Martin Bartlett of bees positioned on the front of the choir stalls in a dance formation, leading to a concealed bronze honeycomb upon which sits the queen attended by six companions – a metaphor used on much of the Manchester landscape for Manchester, the people who work there, and the continents Manchester trades with.

We would like to pay special thanks to the following people who have kindly made this vision a reality:

1. Sir David Trippier and the Freemasons of East Lancashire and London
2. Pauline Diamond and the Friends of Manchester Cathedral
3. Geoffrey & Helen Bamping
4. Stefan Maciejewski, MD of Grape & Grain Catering Ltd
5. Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenants for Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire together with the Duchy of Lancaster
6. John Eckersley, MD, Castlefield Partners Charitable Fund
7. Grant Chapman, MD, Chapman Holmes Ltd
8. Warren Smith JP
9. Iain Mackenzie and the staff of Harvey Nichols Stores Ltd, Manchester
10. Marion McClintock MBE
11. Jamie Anderson, Pickled Walnut Ltd
12. David Richards and Sir David Richards, Directors, Glue Creative Ltd
13. Sam Jones and Rob McGill, Directors, Infusion Bars Ltd

Further photographs can be found on our Facebook page.

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