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This work was carried out in 2018 and involved lots of general maintenance work.
The first task was to do quite a lot of raking out, followed by hydraulic lime pointing. This was unusually difficult and time consuming due to the concave flutings that run all the way down the spire.
All of the timber louvre windows were prepared and painted.
The weathervane (finial) was prepared and painted with a high quality metallic based exterior paint (£70 per 1 litre at time of purchase).
The lightning conductor had been vandalised. The local idiots had tried, and failed, to tear it off the wall to sell it for scrap. We removed the damaged section and replaced it with 25mm x 3mm copper to match the existing (over time the new copper tape will oxidize and become green like the existing tape).
This is the damaged section.
The same area once repairs had been completed.
This page shows a brand new installation of a permanent ladder to give access up inside a steeple, and galvanised mesh to prevent birds getting in to the building (as they were previously).
Looking up the ladder from the base.
Looking down – about halfway up.
Looking down from the top.
Sheet of 1 inch x 1 inch square 12 gauge galvanised mesh fitted to one of the eight louvre windows.
This shot shows a few of the new mesh sheets.
This 2015 job involved stabilisation of the head of the spire followed by full rake out and repointing.
We also carried out more minor tasks like painting the finial and fitting mesh to louvre windows to prevent birds getting in and making a mess of the inside.
We fitted four large and strong copper cramps to stabilise the head of the spire. This was the clients favoured approach as the Church could not afford a full rebuild. This repair will keep the spire stable for a great many years to come (it will see all of us out).
This slot was cut to allow the cramps to be recessed into the masonry. This makes them a little stronger (by going a little deeper into the masonry) but the main purpose of the slot is for appearance sake (cramps look better when they are back flush with the face of the masonry). You can also see the holes that we’ve created to accept the cramp “legs”.
This picture shows the cramp fully inserted. They are all secured with Hilti resin. Before inserting the cramps the holes are completely filled with the material. As you insert the cramp most of it is pushed back out but it means the cramp is very securely fitted into solid resin (no air pockets – it’s all direct contact from stone to resin to copper).
Raking out the old cement mortar in preparation for a full repointing exercise with hydraulic lime mortar (much better for the structure – won’t damage it as cement can).
This is the pointing work in progress. Look at the beds and joints below the new work and you’ll see that they have been raked out (old cement removed) ready to take the new hydraulic lime.
Looking up the spire at the new pointing.
Another view of the new work.
Looking downwards this time.
Here you can see one of the newly meshed louvre windows.
This picture was taken near the end of the contract. The spire is fully raked out and repointed, the steeple has some “patch” pointing done, the finial (weathervane) has been painted, the louvres have all been painted with 2 thick coats of quality timber preserving paint, and the rear sides of the louvres are meshed to prevent birds getting in.
It’s a good job. We’ve stabilised the head of the spire for many years to come (and it wasn’t all that safe before!), and extended the life of the finial, masonry, and louvres by doing good quality pointing and painting work.