James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Helter Skelter Ride Installed In Norwich Cathedral
9 August 2019, 14:52
A 55ft-tall helter skelter has been installed inside Norwich Cathedral to give visitors a more impressive view of its ornate roof.
Reverend Canon Andy Bryant, of Norwich Cathedral, said the aim of the helter skelter is to allow visitors to better appreciate the art and stone carvings of the cathedral, and the story of the Bible that's captured within them, from a higher vantage point.
The idea came to him when he was visiting the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
"I had the slightly risky thought of 'I know this is amazing, but actually the ceiling at Norwich Cathedral is every bit as wonderful'," he said.
"We have one of the greatest collections of medieval roof bosses anywhere in northern Europe.
"The trouble is they are so high up that most people never get a chance to really appreciate them."
Rev Bryant said there was a "serious intent" behind the project, called Seeing It Differently, and he hoped it would attract more visitors.
"We all are always looking to broaden the appeal of our cathedrals because some people can feel that cathedrals are slightly exclusive, they're for a particular type of person," said Rev Bryant.
"We want everybody to feel that they can come in and enjoy it."
Rev Bryant said he understood that traditionalists may question the decision to install a helter skelter, but he believed people would accept it when it was explained.
"I also want to affirm the fact that this cathedral is about the whole of life," he said.
"We celebrate very solemn things here, we have some very heartbreaking things that happen here, isn't it also appropriate to celebrate another aspect of life which is our fun and our enjoyment."
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, said: "I think amongst our own congregation there were people who asked questions about it, but once Andy had explained the rationale I think people were completely converted to the idea."
The helter skelter will be at the cathedral until August 18.
It costs £2 per ride, with funds covering the cost of hire from a funfair company and any surplus going into cathedral initiatives.