Tyne & Wear

Durham Cathedral stonework to be 'used as bookends'

Stonework taken from the cathedral Image copyright Anderson and Garland
Image caption This section from the north side of the tower was expected to fetch one of the highest prices

Stonework removed from Durham Cathedral during a major restoration project has been auctioned.

The sections of weathered and eroded sandstone were taken down when the World Heritage Site's central tower, belfry and bell tower were renovated over a three-year-period.

Prices were estimated to range "from £10 to thousands of pounds".

Auctioneers said people had expressed interest in using pieces as such things as bookends and garden furniture.

The sandstone had been part of the building for about 160 years and pieces ranged in size from a few centimetres wide to more than 1.5m (5ft).

"People have said they'll work the architectural details into their homes or gardens," Julian Thompson, managing director of Anderson and Garland auctioneers, said.

"One lady said she was looking for a couple of bookends. A novel use for the larger pieces would be a garden seat.

"It's a wonderful building and the auction is a one-off as far as we're concerned.

"I've never auctioned stone from a World Heritage Site before."

Image copyright Anderson and Garland
Image caption Buyers were being attracted by the stonework's history and decorative appearance, auctioneers said

The 85 lots had been on display at the cathedral's chapter house.

All proceeds will go towards the building's Foundation 2020 campaign, which aims to generate a £10m fund to cover future maintenance and repairs.

Money raised by the auction will be matched by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The cathedral's tower reopened this year following the completion of the three-year restoration, which also saw the construction of a viewing platform.

The project was undertaken after a 2013 survey identified a number of areas in need of attention.

Image copyright Nick Martin
Image caption The cathedral attracts 750,000 visitors each year

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