Restoring Pugin: Meet the Team

Restoring Pugin

Learn more about some of the team leading our National Lottery-Funded Restoring Pugin project.

Restoring Pugin: Meet the Team

As our Restoring Pugin project gets underway, you will see many new faces around the Cathedral leading on different aspects of this project. The team will be crucial in delivering the aims of our Development Phase which includes putting together a proposed schema of restoration by combining paint conservation work and historical research, engaging new audiences in the story of AWN Pugin and the life of the Cathedral and working to build skills in the heritage sector through apprenticeships, paid and voluntary roles. You can read more about this phase here. The work of this team will be essential to pulling together a strong application to the Heritage Fund, this will hopefully help us secure the ‘Delivery’ part of the work, which is where we will see the decorative paint schemes restored. Here are some of the key members of our project team:

Project Manager: Jane Hellings

I'm Jane Hellings, Project Manager for Restoring Pugin. I have been a cultural sector consultant for over 25 years; for the last 10 focussing on Catholic churches.

In summer 2021 I advised Nottingham Cathedral on how best to move forward after Discovering Pugin. I was responsible for submitting the bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund which awarded 60% of the funding for Restoring Pugin Development Phase. Now I am responsible for making sure the project is delivered to timetable and budget and meets all the objectives we set ourselves, so that we are in strong position to win the final funding for the Delivery Phase.

I am working closely with and co-ordinating all members of the project team – architect, paint conservator, conservation management planner, engagement manager and evaluation consultant as well as the Dean, the Friends of the Cathedral and senior staff at the diocese. I am also responsible for maintaining relationships with our two partners – Culture Syndicates and Nottingham Trent University Department of Digital Architecture.

I am particularly excited about delivering our goal to encourage young people from different backgrounds to consider a career in heritage management. We have included four trainee posts in the project – 2 paint conservators and 2 heritage assistants to help with events and public consultation.

During this development phase (to September 2024) we really want to learn about how the Cathedral community and wider audiences want to engage with the story of Pugin, paint and the Catholic Church. So I hope to meet many of you over coming months.

Lead Architect: Mark Pearce

I, Mark Pearce, am an Architect Accredited in Building Conservation who has been appointed to be the Architect to lead the Design Team for the Restoring Pugin Project. Throughout my career of over twenty years in practice, I have been fortunate to have worked with historic buildings of many different types however, the vast majority of which have been church buildings. I am fortunate to be supported by a committed team of colleagues, with extensive experience of working with churches and cathedrals, at our practice Kepczyk Pearce Sanderson.

My work started as recently as July 2023 but already within that time our team has undertaken assessments of the mechanical and electrical installations within Nottingham Cathedral and advised on the appointment of conservators and architectural historian for the further investigation works and research needed as part of the Development Phase grant that has been gifted by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. My key task going forward is to ensure that the investigation work undertaken clearly identifies the extent of the existing scheme(s) that survives, and the works required to restore Pugin’s scheme, both technically and aesthetically.

I consider my appointment for this project to Nottingham Cathedral to be a great honour and privilege. It is rare to have an opportunity to analyse and restore original decorative schemes, not least one within a cathedral built to designs by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. It will no doubt have technical and budgetary challenges to address but in overcoming these challenges, as part of the Restoring Pugin Project, we will have been able to restore a significant element of Pugin’s original design intent.

Engagement Manager: Helen Martinez

I’m Helen, the new Engagement Manager for the Restoring Pugin project.  The main focus of my role is to lead the development of the Activity Plan for the project, which will form a key focus of the final bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund next year.    The Activity Plan will set out everything we will do in the delivery phase to engage with our audiences.  

In order to do this my work will focus on carrying our consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and working on strategies to engage new audiences.   I will also be working with the Friends to lead on a series of pilot audience engagement events at the Cathedral, starting with Heritage Open Days.

My background is museum and heritage site management, and my passion is breaking down barriers to access and engaging communities, so this role most definitely aligns with my ethos and values.

Conservation Management Plan Team: Andrew Derrick and Neil Burton

I’m Andrew Derrick, and I will be leading on the preparation of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Nottingham Cathedral. I’m a director of the Architectural History Practice (AHP), and have been professionally engaged in historic buildings and their conservation/adaptation for over 35 years. AHP has a great deal of knowledge and experience of Catholic churches in England and Wales, having carried out in the nationwide survey known as Taking Stock (type the words into a search engine to find out more). We are delighted to have been chosen to contribute towards this important and exciting project. The CMP forms part of the development phase of the project and will inform the restoration proposals. It will set out the history of the cathedral, identify any current heritage management issues and vulnerabilities and set out policies for future management. We hope to have the draft document ready for public consultation by the beginning of 2024, and we look forward to engaging with as wide an audience as possible.

I'm Neil Burton. I'm the co-director of the Architectural History Practice (AHP) with Andrew Derrick and I'll be assisting him in the preparation of the Conservation Management Plan for Nottingham Cathedral. I'm an architectural historian and heritage specialist with nearly fifty years’ experience. My principal task at Nottingham will be to gather as much information as I can about the history of the Cathedral, and especially the many changes in its interior decoration and arrangement, to provide the foundation for decision-making about future works.

Keep an eye on our website of follow #RestoringPugin on social media for more updates on the Restoring Pugin project and to find out how you can get involved or support this exciting restoration work. This project has been made possible thanks to generous funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. You can find out more about their work here:


Project team from left to right: Jane Hellings, Neil Burton, Andrew Derrick, Helen Martinez and Mark Pearce.