“York Minster is falling down. The central tower, this lantern tower, is in danger of collapse – unless work of salvation is done, the tower will last no more than 15 years.”
That was the shocking news that BBC news viewers learning in this report from 7 April, 1967.
The latest Yorkshire film to be released from the Beeb’s archives, the report takes us back to a time when traffic roared past the Minster, and people wore fur coats to church.
It was the moment when Britain’s biggest appeal for a cathedral was launched – to raise £2 million to shore up the foundations and keep the old place standing for centuries to come.
The 1967 report also includes a contribution by the Dean of York, Alan Richardson, who said the Minster would not be closing.
“We’re convinced that if massive remedial action is taken without delay, the great building can be properly restored, and it must be restored,” he tells the watching millions.
“Of course, the ministry is not just an ancient monument or a museum. It’s a living church to which thousands of worshippers come every year.
“We are assured by our advisors, that the life and worship of the Minster can be continued during this period of repair. The Minster will remain open, both to worshippers and visitors.”
The £2 million was raised and spent by 1972 – reinforcing the building’s foundations and roof.