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Choristers welcome Dippy the dinosaur to Norwich Cathedral

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He was the first Diplodocus to go on display anywhere in the world and now he is taking centre stage in the Nave of Norwich Cathedral.

Ahead of the exhibition opening to the public on Tuesday afternoon, some of the Cathedral’s choristers were among the first to enjoy a glimpse of Dippy. They celebrated his arrival by singing Rutter’s All Things Bright and Beautiful around Dippy before nine-year-old chorister Ralph Lambert-John performed the all-important task of putting the final bone in place on the skeleton assisted by Philippa Charles, the Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure is being brought to Norwich Cathedral and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill. Norwich Cathedral is the eighth and final stop on the tour and Barratt and Cooke is the regional sponsor for the exhibition.

The Nave of the 900-year-old Norman Cathedral will be Dippy’s home for nearly four months, with the Dippy on Tour exhibition running from Tuesday 13 July 2021 until Saturday 30 October 2021.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Natural History Museum’s Dippy the dinosaur cast to Norwich Cathedral. It really is quite incredible to see this amazing prehistoric creature stretching out amongst the beautiful architecture of the Cathedral’s Norman Nave.

“Throughout the centuries, Naves have traditionally always been places that have hosted all kinds of community events and we hope that Dippy’s stay here will bring great joy to all who come to see him.

“We hope people will have a lot of fun with Dippy’s visit and that there will also be serious conversations too, about important issues such the relationship between science and faith and also about how we can all play our part to protect our planet for the future.

“Bringing Dippy to Norwich Cathedral has been a real team effort, and we would like to say a big thank you to the Natural History Museum and the many different organisations across Norwich and the wider region who have helped to make Dippy’s visit possible.”

The Dippy on Tour exhibition at Norwich Cathedral opened to the general public at 1 pm today (Tuesday 13 July). Visitors start their Dippy on Tour experience from the Dark Entry of the Cathedral’s Cloister and, before coming face-to-face with Dippy, step back into the age of the dinosaurs via a time tunnel created by Norwich School and pupils from other local primary schools.

They can take a closer look at fossils kindly loaned by Norfolk Museums Service and walk through an immersive wave sculpture of more than 1,000 fish created by Norfolk-based artist Mark Reed and called Your Waves Go Over Me.

In the Cathedral’s Nave, Dippy stands among the stunning 900-year-old architecture, with the iconic 26m dinosaur cast stretching out to face the Cathedral’s Great West Door.

Dippy’s nationwide tour aims to inspire people to engage with nature, to think about the great diversity of life that has lived on Earth, and to consider our own footprint on the planet. As the only Cathedral on Dippy’s tour, Dippy’s Norwich visit also aims to spark conversations about science and faith.

Norfolk-based artist Rebecca Osborne draws upon some of these themes in a series of illustrated panels created especially for the Norwich stop on Dippy’s tour, meanwhile, there is a display of green hearts created by Norfolk WI members that aim to encourage everyone to think about the Earth’s future and help combat climate change. People are also being encouraged to make their own individual pledges to help protect the planet.

Also in the Nave, children can have fun spotting Dippy’s footprints to find some of Dippy’s fellow dinosaurs and learn some facts about dinosaurs and Norwich Cathedral.

Outside in The Close, people can learn more about some of Dippy’s closest living relatives – birds – thanks to the Hawk and Owl Trust who have a stand in the Cathedral Close where people can find out more about the peregrine falcons that have made the Norwich Cathedral spire their home.

Running alongside the main exhibition, there is a special programme of Dippy-inspired events for dinosaur fans of all ages. These include Saturday Stories, where children can enjoy hearing dinosaur tales told under the tail of Dippy, a Talkative Tuesdays series of evening talks focussing on the encounter between faith and science through the ages, and a Fun Thursdays program featuring everything from film nights to organ recitals and art and photography evenings.

The Dippy on Tour exhibition will usually be open six days a week until Saturday 30 October 2021. The opening times will be 10 am-4 pm Monday to Friday and 9.30 am to 5.30 pm on Saturdays. From Friday 30 July, people will also be able to visit Dippy every Friday evening from 7 pm until 9 pm.

Entry to the Dippy on Tour exhibition at Norwich Cathedral is free and there is no need to book in advance (unless part of a group of more than six people), although people may need to queue during busy periods. Norwich Cathedral and the Natural History Museum are working together closely to ensure that visitors will be able to enjoy the exhibition safely and visitors will need to adhere to the latest Covid regulations at all times.

Dippy’s home in the east is also a busy working Cathedral and the Cathedral’s daily pattern of worship will continue throughout Dippy’s visit. The Dippy exhibition will be closed on Sundays and there will also be other occasions when opening times may vary. All the latest details will be made available on the Dippy pages of the Cathedral website.

The east end of the Cathedral will also continue to be open daily for general Cathedral visitors and those who wish to explore more of the Cathedral before or after they have seen Dippy.

Dippy had originally been due to go on display in Norwich Cathedral in Summer 2020 but his visit was rescheduled to January to March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic before being postponed to Summer 2021.

For all the latest details about Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure at Norwich Cathedral, visit the website.


All photos are (c) Bill Smith, Norwich Cathedral