William Morris

Peterborough Cathedral IV

I venture, at the risk of being troublesome, to draw your attention once more to Peterborough Cathedral. The Restoration Committee are calling on the public for £12,000, which is needed, as I gather from a note in the Standard, "to repair the damage done by the gale in the spring, to secure the safety of the west front, and to execute repairs still needed in the transepts and eastern chapel." Now, it may well be that this sum is under rather than over what is needed for indispensable work; but I must again repeat that the necessary work on the west front was necessary before the gale of last spring took place, and this work is not the replacing or re-doing of a few pinnacles, some of which have been knocked down and re-done before, and are therefore not ancient, but a sedulous and exhaustive examination of the foundations and general structure of the front, followed by the immediatepractical measures found necessary after such an examination. It may seem too obvious to remark that the structure should be made stable before ornamental details are replaced (restored they should never be), but I cannot forget that it has been known to the Dean and Chapter for several years that the west front wanted examination, and probably important and expensive structural repairs, but all that time money which should have been used for ensuring the safety of the building has been spent on ecclesiastical upholstery in the interior of the church. All I ask is that this kind of thing should not happen again and again till the words "too late" have to be written on this great work of art, as on so many others.

Letter to the Daily Chronicle, 7 December 1895.