By Rev Beverley
The architect has now been up the spire and believes that God must be on our side as we are extremely fortunate that the spire hasn’t collapsed onto one of the houses on High Street! Apparently the scaffolders had to work in very dangerous conditions within the spire, but it is now completely safe and scaffolded inside and out.
Tenders will now be sought to do the repair work which should start mid June. The delay is because the work could not be tendered out until the damage had been closely examined. This process will take a month and then work can start.
The top of the spire is 120 feet from ground level and the top 32ft will have to be removed. Before this can happen the damage must be secured using timber wedges and canvas webbing to prevent a certain masonry fall once the top of the spire is removed. The cap of the spire (The top 6-8ft) will have to be lowered to the ground intact and will be too heavy to rest on the scaffolding.
The weather vane not surprisingly will need to be mended (it is rusted and perished at the bottom) and could be gilded at a price of £150-200). This might be a nice thing for someone to do in memory of a loved one? I don’t know how we would go about finding such a person though.
I have instructed the Architect to do the high level repairs in the quinquennial together with one or two items that have come to light now that a close inspection can be made of the tower which is usually inspected through binoculars. None of these items is expensive and should fall within the £12,000 the PCC have set to raise for the chancel roof work.
The roof work will start as soon as the spire is completed. I have asked John to make sure there is no gap between the two as this will add to expense. The roof work cannot happen at the same time as the spire work as it would not be safe. However the scaffolding up to the tower can definitely be used and it will be very economical to do so.
John can arrange for inspection and possible repairs to internal timber to happen whilst the spire work is being completed. I reminded John that he had promised to contact English Heritage about a grant. I asked John for a time frame and he said six months from start of spire work to completion of everything! This means we should be back in time for Christmas!