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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Cathedral reveals hidden secrets
Choir stalls carving
Detail of the recreation of the cathedral's 17th century choir stalls
Visitors to Canterbury Cathedral have received a glimpse of behind-the-scenes areas not normally open to the public.

Trips up the bell tower and organ loft and guided tours of the cathedral, a World Heritage Site, were on offer at a free open evening on Tuesday.

One of the highlights of the event was a display of finely carved 17th century choir stalls recreated by the cathedral's specialist carpenters.

The evening began and ended with the Evensong and Compline services.

There was also a concert by the cathedral choristers.

"Everyone is very welcome to come and have a look behind the scenes and see many of the specialist skills which keep a major church building functioning," said spokesman Christopher Robinson.

Canterbury Cathedral
The cathedral's bell tower and organ loft are not normally open

The work of stonemasons and stained glass craftsmen was on show as well as a display of vestments and embroidery and medieval manuscripts.

Visitors were also able to visit the Huguenot Chapel, used by the French Protestant Church since the late 19th century.

"The French church has been worshipping in the cathedral for over 400 years, from the time when about a third of the population of Canterbury was of refugee origin," said pastor the Rev Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy.

Also on show was the wax chamber, so-called because it was used for storing candles in the middle ages.

But it was once used by monks to watch over the tomb of Thomas a Becket to make sure none of the gifts offered by pilgrims were stolen.




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