Historic St. Paul’s Cathedral needs urgent repairs

project jericho - dc15

photo by Sandra Coulson St. Paul’s Cathedral property committee members Gordon Rolleston, left, chair, and David Warren are working on plans for urgent repair to damage caused by water leaks at the cathedral..

The site of the spring consecration of Huron’s next coadjutor bishop requires an urgent repair costing at least $500,000 to keep the roof overhead and protect irreplaceable works of art.

While searching for the cause of inside water leaks, the leadership of St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown London learned the water is rotting the ends of at least one of the wooden trusses supporting the roof.

It is also causing significant deterioration of the brick mortar, besides the damage to interior gold-leaf scrolling and plaster, which were the first indications of a problem.

The cathedral has launched Project Jericho — named for a Biblical story about the collapse of the walls of a city — to inspect, stabilize, and repair all the roof trusses at an estimated cost of at least $500,000.

If the work is not completed, pressure will increase on the walls, putting at risk four priceless Louis Tiffany stained-glass windows (two of which were signed by the artist) installed in the 19th century.

Additional funds will be needed to repair the plaster and gold-leaf scrolling, scheduled for the spring.

Besides Anglican worship services, the cathedral is also open to the public for tours, Tuesday noon-hour organ recitals, various concerts (including the Alex Clark Memorial Concert with Medway Secondary School), and non-­denominational events throughout the year.

The property is a heritage site with ties to the broader history of London since the early 1800s, including the arrival of the Talbot settlers, the 1832 plague, the emancipation of slaves, and the first school for African-­Canadians in London.

The site served as an early graveyard and, although the graves were moved, some markers remain on the property.

The Ontario Archeological and Historic Sites Board erected a plaque on the cathedral’s front lawn in 1969 summarizing its history.

The cathedral was built in the Gothic style of architecture, common among English cathedrals, which is supported by roof buttresses and pointed arches rather than columns.

The cathedral will be relying on the generosity of donors to complete the repairs. It is seeking assistance not only from its own parishioners but also from the wider Anglican circle in recognition of the cathedral as the site for significant diocesan events, and from the London community because of the building’s heritage value.

Donations may made at, through Canada Helps on St. Paul’s website at, or by mailing cheques to St. Paul’s Cathedral
472 Richmond St., London, Ont., N6A 3E6.

Donations are eligible for a tax receipt.