In an unremarkable corner of Westminster Abbey is a wooden door marked “Private”. Behind it are 78 wooden steps spiralling upwards in a narrow staircase. And at the top of those is one of the Abbey’s hidden treasures: what John Betjeman once called “the greatest view in Europe”.
More than 20 metres above the floor of the Abbey, and largely invisible to the tourists taking pictures below, is a vaulted gallery that runs the entire length of the building. This is the Abbey’s eastern triforium, a centuries-old secret expanse that is to be opened to visitors for the first time as part of a gallery and exhibition space.
The Dean, Dr John Hall, invited us, a group of reporters, to join him in a final tour around the triforium before building work begins in earnest to transform the dusty space into the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries
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