Old Cathedral School

Following the completion of Truro Cathedral in 1910 the Old Cathedral School was constructed on Cathedral Green and held responsibility for educating the choristers, hence it became known as the Cathedral School. The school was closed in 1982 and turned into office space for several years before the building fell into significant disrepair.

Following major fundraising efforts, we were able to undertake full restoration work that has now transformed the building in to an iconic, creative hub focussed on education, music and art for the City of Truro and the wider county of Cornwall. The design of the building was conceived by John Loughborough Pearson and executed by his son Frank Pearson in 1910. The intention and outcome has been to faithfully return the building to its former glory while incorporating some 21st century design features.

What has been restored?

The £1.5m project has enabled the careful and sympathetic restoration of so many of the building’s beautiful and unique aspects.

The beautiful assembly hall, which will provide an incredible space for performances, exhibitions, talks, or even dinners.

The original fireplaces, which have all been returned to their former glory, providing stunning focus points for the rooms and a link to the past.

The original mullioned leaded glass windows have been painstakingly refurbished, including a stunning WW1 commemorative window in the assembly hall. Additionally, for the first time in many years, we have been able to place on display some stunning stained glass panels created by the Reverend William Willimott, a local Cornish rector and notable Victorian stained glass craftsman.

In addition to the assembly hall, a number of dedicated learning rooms have been created, along with other separate office areas available for hire by arts and educational organisations and businesses.

A transformative new feature of the building is the creation of a double height entry area forming an informal gathering space and a coffee bar. This was achieved by the removal of a section of the first floor and the insertion of a full height window into the south-west archway below the existing stone hood-moulds. The formidable glass arch now floods the two floors with light and provides a huge window both into and out of the building. 

The coffee bar will not only serve to refresh those using the building, but also those passing, enabling people to convene and relax and enjoy the peace that Cathedral Green can offer.

To make the building fully accessible a platform lift was installed which provides access to the principal floors. This was a tricky operation, ‘threading’ the lift through the building whilst limiting the effect on the surrounding fabric. Accessible toilets have been installed on every level as well as an adult changing facility and shower on the ground floor. A full heating system has been installed at every level which is helping the solid masonry construction to ‘dry out’.

Throughout the building, new wall, floor and ceiling finishes have been applied. Mechanical and electrical installations have been completely replaced to provide flexibility and to meet current building standards.

New kitchen facilities have been provided for the various groups who will be using the Old Cathedral School. Security measures have been improved with the installation of some traditional gates and fencing which complement the building. Sensitive security and feature lighting have also been installed.

The future of the Old Cathedral School

This important building has been given a new lease of life thanks to the kindness and generosity of the cathedral’s supporters. With a planned programme of community events, lectures, concerts, performances, exhibitions and fun activities, this once derelict building is not only going to help us as an organisation to achieve many of our aims, but in doing so, it is once again going to be a thriving hub for music, art and learning for all, right at the centre of our community.

The ground floor of the Old Cathedral School will become the new cathedral office. Many factors have driven the decision to relocate the team to the newly renovated building, not least the opportunity it affords to bring the whole team together in one, large open-plan environment.

To find out more or make an enquiry regarding hire of space at the Old Cathedral School, please contact info@trurocathedral.org.uk