Since I last wrote in February, much has happened. The project continues to evolve and, rather like the stonework on the spire, it's been a question of working with the rough with the smooth.
Following the completion of the scaffold, it was possible to inspect the spire mortarwork and stone. Sadly, it was worse than we had thought it would be. On close and thorough inspection, it was clear that ALL the lime-mortarwork on the Spire had been replaced with concrete mortar in the renovation of the 1970s.
This was bad news, as it meant that it all needed to be cut out, and it would have to be replaced with a sympathetic and appropriate lime mortar. Obviously, this would not only slow us up, but also increase the cost substantially, too.
The other additional challenge has come from an unexpected source: the weather-vane. Once we had a full scaffold in place, both on the exterior and within the interior of the spire, we were able to see how bad the stonework erosion had been, and also discover how the weather vane was attached (the weather vane has come down to be cleaned and restored as part of the project). On close inspection, it was found that the weather vane is attached through an elaborate, complex, and rather beautiful piece of wrought-iron engineering (see image). Alas, wrought iron, moisture, and age do not mix well, however. It has suffered severe corrosion, and will need to be replaced. Before this can be done, though, we need to install a temporary structure to ensure the spire is safe and secure. This work is underway, but the discovery of this beautiful piece of over-engineering, has slowed our work.
Both of these discoveries have necessarily delayed the project's progress, and we are currently seven weeks behind. For us, this means not only about another £17,000 additional unexpected costs, and that we shall be under scaffold for until mid-February next year. Whilst we are exploring grants and trusts, anything you could give in support, would be so warmly received. You can click here to make a donation:
That's the bad news!
But the good news is that all the stonework not in need of being replaced has now been cleaned through a process of steam-cleaning. It looks amazing, and once the works are completed, the spire will be a radiant symbol of our church throughout the area, see as it is from Coppetts Wood, Hadley, or New Southgate. We are restoring our church, and also a landmark for North London - so, despite the frustrations and increased costs, it will be very worthwhile.