Don’t tell me you went on it!

“Certainly – and I followed another Anglican clergyman down the slide!”

Helter Skelter in Norwich Cathedral Nave

We are talking by the way about the somewhat controversial helter-skelter which has been erected for the summer holiday season at the west end of the Nave of Norwich Cathedral.

I say controversial because there are those who thing it is inappropriate to have part of a children’s fun fair inside a cathedral and others who think it’s terrific.

Of course if you ask the children they think it is fabulous and would vote for it to be there for the entire year. In terms of levels of support, the header for this page shows the queue stretching outside the cathedral at twelve o’clock – parents and children all anxious to obtain helter-skelter tickets. There were quite a few parents who I suspect would have been there anyway even if their children were not too keen.

The tower is colourful and attractive and there are some limited views from the top. The sticker one receives after a successful descent says “I’ve seen it differently” and I have a feeling that the theological justification (hereinafter called “the excuse”) for it being there at all is so that people can take time to see their cathedral in a new and interesting way.

In support of this end mats are placed at the other end of the nave so that people can lie on the floor and look up to see the bosses on the inside of the roof and take time to scan the building.  

Nice idea but in fact there are very good angled mirrors on wheels which allow people to study the roof from a standing position. I would have thought that lying down on one’s back actually made the roof a bit further away!

Family games in the cloister

What was good was to see parents/grandparents and children enjoying the sunshine and making good use of the large outdoor games which had been positioned on the garth, that central piece of grass in the middle of the cloisters.

Back to the tower. It’s fun, it’s fast, terribly well organised and managed. I could be wrong but I felt the building was full of families from Norwich and the surrounding district.

Full of people who on other occasions might have said “Oh yes there’s the cathedral…it’s very impressive…although I’ve never been in it myself… well of course you don’t when you live here – it’s somewhere the tourists all go!”

Crafty move Madam Dean and chapter – you never know, having got people over the threshold, they could come back. 10/10.