THE stoneyard of York Minster is preparing to throw open its doors to the public.

The stoneyard is part of the Minster’s Works Department – the dedicated team responsible for the maintenance, repair, conservation and restoration of the fabric and grounds of the great cathedral.

The Minster is one of only a small number of English cathedrals with an in-house works department. Currently around 50-strong, the department is committed to training future generations of craftspeople and has a thriving apprenticeship scheme with five apprentices currently working there.

Visitors on September 12 will enjoy access to areas normally off-limit to the general public, learn about the challenges of maintaining one of the world’s greatest cathedrals and see demonstrations of some of the specialist craft and trade skills that keep the building in good repair.

Between 9.30am and 3pm, visitors will be able to meet the team who repair, restore and protect the ancient building, take a free guided tour to special areas including the drawing office and plaster cast museum and take a trip iup the east Front vliuft for a close-up view of restoration work.

Admission to the open day is free, but donations for the future conservation of York Minster would be welcomed.

Tickets for the tour of the Masons’ Lodge and the East Front lift cost £7.50 per person and are available in advance from the Minster box office or online at