Norwich Cathedral prepares for a prehistoric guest in summer 2020
Photo credit: Norwich Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral is preparing to host a prehistoric guest in summer 2020 when the Natural History Museum’s iconic dinosaur cast Dippy pays a four-month visit.
The much-loved national treasure – who for many years took centre stage in the Natural History Museum’s Hinzte Hall before embarking on his current UK tour – will take up residence in the Nave of Norwich Cathedral from July 11 until October 31 2020.
Dippy on Tour is brought to you by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams and Hill.
Norwich Cathedral’s centuries-old architecture will provide a stunning backdrop for the famous 26-metre long (85ft) dinosaur on the final stop in his travels. The historic landmark is also the only Cathedral on Dippy’s eight-venue tour.
Throughout the whole of Dippy’s visit, Norwich Cathedral’s regular rhythm of worship will continue as normal. Visitors will also be able to enjoy exploring the Cathedral’s many highlights, including its beautiful cloisters and its incredible collection of medieval roof carvings which are the largest of their kind in the world.
Since setting off from the National History Museum in 2018, Dippy has so far visited Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ulster Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and Great North Museum, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Dippy is currently at the National Museum Cardiff until 26 January and will also visit Number One Riverside in Rochdale before arriving at Norwich Cathedral in July 2020.
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said: “We are incredibly excited to be welcoming Dippy to Norwich Cathedral in summer 2020. Dippy is such an iconic figure, and his stay in Norwich will give many thousands of people the chance to enjoy seeing him up close here in East Anglia.
“Historically Naves in churches and cathedrals have been used for a wide variety of activities and we hope Dippy’s visit will bring great joy to children and adults alike while also encouraging people to be inspired by nature and to think about important issues such as climate change and food production.
“Dippy’s visit will also encourage debate about the relationship between faith and science and we look forward to the cathedral playing a part in many thought-provoking conversations.”
The Diplodocus species lived during the Jurassic period and belongs to a group called sauropods meaning ‘lizard feet.’
Dippy is a plaster cast of a Diplodocus found by railroad workers in Wyoming, USA, in 1898. At the time, newspapers billed the discovery as the “most colossal animal ever on earth.”
Millionaire Andrew Carnegie presented Dippy to NHM after King Edward VII commented that he would like a Diplodocus for the museum.
Dippy’s grand unveiling took place on May 12 1905 and he was said to be the first full skeleton of a sauropod dinosaur ever displayed anywhere in the world.
His first home at NHM was in the Reptile Gallery and, most recently, he greeted visitors in the museum’s Hintze Hall where he was displayed from 1979 to 2017.
Dippy’s skeleton contains 292 bones, including more than 70 bones in his tail alone. In 1993 his tail position was changed after scientists investigating how dinosaurs walked realised that a Diplodocus would have held its tail in the air rather than dragging it.
Ahead of Dippy’s visit to Norwich Cathedral, a new dinosaur has already been stomping around Norwich. Ploddy, an 8.5 metre (28ft) dinosaur puppet has been commissioned by Norwich Cathedral and created by Ali MacKenzie and Matt Reeve with the team from Tin House. Ploddy has appeared in Norwich’s Lord Mayor’s Procession and at the Royal Norfolk Show this year and is set to pop-up at many other events in the run-up to Dippy’s arrival in Norwich in July 2020.
Photo credit: Norwich Cathedral
More details about the opening times for Dippy and associated special events will be available nearer the time at cathedral.org.uk