R G Carter Drayton »

Norwich Cathedral Refectory



R G Carter is very proud to have a long history of both conserving and enhancing Norfolk’s most iconic building, Norwich Cathedral.

Her Majesty the Queen visited the refectory restaurant in 2009 when she attended a special service at the cathedral.



  • Restoring the cathedral’s original look by replacing cast iron downpipes with lead, the material originally used by the Normans who constructed the building 950 years ago.
  • Scaffolding standing ten-storeys tall had to be erected to access the highest of the 36 water pipes. This work required the careful protection of the ancient lead roofing and stained glass windows against accidental damage. The new lead pipes exactly match existing lead guttering, as do the moulded ears that secure them to the walls.

New Build

  • Construction of a library, reception, reading room and restaurant on the site of a former refectory used by Benedictine Monks.
  • This two-storey building features English oak, complemented by the exposed flint fabric of the existing cathedral building.
  • Focal points include 18 oak columns, each weighting about one tonne, that terminate in four finger props to support the roof and a glass elevator.
  • The new building is tucked into the shadow of the cathedral and is virtually hidden from view.


  • RIBA hailed the refectory as one of the best examples of architecture in the East of England.
  • Achieved second place in a contest run by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust. The chairman, Lord St John of Fawsley, said: ‘the architectural challenge in this country is how to graft the future on to the past – enhancing but not harming it.’
  • Recognition in the annual Wood Awards taking both the public access category and the national title.


English Heritage praised the works as: ‘the most exciting and ambitious construction project at an English cathedral in recent years.’

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