‘It’s not every day you get to add a new tower to Westminster Abbey.'  So said the Dean as he urged guests to climb up to the new triforium galleries, seven stories above the nave at a reception to mark their completion.  The lift shaft is clad with 17 different stones with each band representing the type of stone used in the Abbey over the years. From pinkish Purbeck Marble in 1000 to Clipsham in 1900.  A geological tour de force.

What is extraordinary and wonderful about the galleries is the view of the glorious vaulted ceiling and down onto the nave 16 metres below with light streaming through the west door providing a glimpse of the busy world outside.

In the ‘Abbey Attic’ visitors step over and under ancient diagonal oak beams and rafters, thrilling in itself.  The sight-lines across and through the galleries are positively an invitation to explore the views out to Parliament Square and the Palace of Westminster.  In the galleries themselves over 300 objects from the Abbey’s collection are presented in four sections: Building Westminster Abbey, Worship and Daily Life, Westminster Abbey and the Monarchy, The Abbey and National Memory.

There are swords and shields, corbel heads and graffiti, memorials and wall monuments.  Funeral effigies of Kings and Queens, side by side which are quite unnerving. Queen Elizabeth I’s corset made of fustian, whalebone and leather gives a rather jarring jolt.  Carved Caen stone sculpture, possibly of Abbot John Islip is a reminder of the street names of Thorney Island.... and back down to earth.

We are in the process of arranging a tour of the galleries for Members and guests in September. 

The Queen's Jubilee Galleries, Westminster Abbey - June 2018