Easter saw the consecration of the new nave furniture at Manchester Cathedral by the Bishop of Bolton. The furniture was created by Mike Mcintosh the head designer at Treske from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, in consultation with Martyn Coppin, Chair of the Cathedral FAC, and John Prichard the Cathedral architect of Lloyd Evans Prichard LLP.
The furniture is designed on a concentric basis, with the central focal point of the special altar positioned on the raised dais in front of the historic screen above which is the new organ. The altar is really special, using an historic British and extremely rich and featured rare burr elm top, with bronze inlay in some of the fissures in the wood. Arranged around the altar are the three celebrant's chairs and like all the other pieces of furniture are made from specially chosen European walnut veneer all taken from one tree. The principal items of the altar, and the celebrant's chairs all have gold leaf applied to their exposed edges and in their grooves.
The first row of children’s choir stalls have flashes of red on their edges and on the sides of the grooves cut into the curved faces, contrasting with the blue on the adult versions sitting behind. These colours are taken from and echo the screen behind. The other furniture, seating and readers for the clergy and dignitaries are colour coded to match their positions.
The insignia of the Dean, Sub Dean, Bishop, as well as the Lord Lieutenant are made in gold plated steel and fixed to the chair backs allowing great definition and detail.
Throughout the design the work has been aware of its position in relation to the wider cathedral, screen and organ, and has achieved a subtlety that blends in with the magnificent interior.
Metal work finishes off the work. The choir have specially designed candle holders to fit into the stalls while the civic pride of Manchester is emphasised through a series of bronze sculptures, designed by Martin Bartlett, of bees positioned on the front of the choir stalls in a dance formation, leading to a concealed bronze honey comb upon which sits the queen attended by six companions – a metaphor used on much of the Manchester landscape for the people who work there, and the continents Manchester trades with.