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The late Victorians

1863-1874

Sir George Gilbert Scott

When Charles Kemble took over as Rector in 1859 it was clear from the dangerously crumbling masonry that the Abbey was once again badly in need of repair. Sir George Gilbert Scott drew up plans for a thorough restoration of the Abbey which began in 1864. Outside repairs were carried out to the stonework, roof timbers and the West Front – but it was the inside of the Abbey that was transformed to create the interior which we see today.

Gilbert Scott’s Abbey

  • The organ and screen were moved from the crossing to the north transept. For the first time there was an uninterrupted view from the west to the east. Manners’ stone organ screen was put over the west doors

  • The galleries over the choir were removed and new pews were installed. The empty nave was now filled with the pews which are still there today

  • The plaster and lathe ceiling over the nave was replaced with stone fan vaulting, to match the fan vaulting over the chancel

  • The memorial tablets were removed from the pillars and fixed to the walls

  • The Great East Window was designed and made by Clayton & Bell. New stained glass was put into the west window. 19 other windows were filled with stained glass

  • Gilbert Scott commissioned a famous metalworker from Coventry, Francis Skidmore, to make the large gas chandeliers which still hang in the Abbey today. They were converted to electricity in 1979