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£10m boost for minster conservation

One of the UK's most famous cathedrals, York Minster, is to receive almost £10 million for conservation work as part of £15 million funding for four major heritage schemes.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) said grants would also go to the William Morris gallery in London, the historic Cromford Mills in the Peak District and an aerial photograph archive charting the changing landscape of Britain over the past century.

The HLF also gave initial support to six more projects across the UK, including a lido in Wales and a project in Belfast to restore the SS Nomadic - the boat built to ferry passengers to the Titanic.

The latest projects from around the UK to receive grants from the funding body were unveiled amid uncertainty over the HLF's future, with ministers thought to be considering whether to merge it with English Heritage - which only covers England.

Under the latest round of grants, York Minster is to receive £9.7 million in funding, to conserve stonework in the cathedral's east end and restore the 15th century glass in the section of the Great East Window which depicts the apocalypse.

Training and volunteering opportunities will give people the chance to learn skills such as stone masonry, stained glass conservation and how to become a guide.

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, said it was wonderful the Minster was to receive the lottery funding.

"The east window, which tells the whole story of the Book of Revelation in painted glass, is a beautiful and historic work of art which brings joy to so many people, worshippers, visitors and York residents alike. Indeed, the Minster as a whole is a masterpiece which speaks of the glory of God and the creative imagination of human beings."

An archive of more than a million aerial photos of Britain taken between 1919 and 2006 is to receive funding of £1.7 million for a UK-wide project to make public access to the pictures easier, with schemes in Swindon, Edinburgh and Aberystwyth.

The collection was created by Aerofilms, an air survey company set up by First World War veterans in 1919, and funding will go to enable cataloguing and digitising of 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953. The cash will also support a programme of online volunteering, local community projects and exhibitions in various parts of the UK.

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