Tower Talk...

The observant among you may have notice a little bit of scaffolding going up around the church tower - I jest, it's a highly complex feat of engineering, and the largest scaffolding structure we have ever had on the building.

So, what's going on?

It's time, as with all buildings, to carry out some maintenance and repairs to our wonderful Grade I listed church to ensure it's watertight and sound for future generations. This is a three-part project that will take some months to complete, so please bear with us as the work gets underway:

  • grouting and pointing of the flint walls of the tower – this is not like the grouting you are probably familiar with around tiles in your bathroom, but internal grouting with a liquid lime mortar that sets solid.

  • BT have changed their business plan for mobile communications, and no longer wish to have masts situated on buildings – you may have noticed the increase in presence of mast poles on street corners, as they move to more easily accessible installation sites. As such, the telecomms mast on the church tower (looks like a flagpole) is being decommissioned with immediate effect. Don't worry, you won't lose mobile signal, there is already ample coverage by other masts in our area to make this possible.

  • Removal of the mast and associated equipment will enable us to reroof the tower – the existing roof structure has come to the end of its life and we have to properly deal with ongoing issues of water penetration that are causing accelerating damage to the building.

The location of the church means it is not possible for BT to simply bring a crane in and lift off the mast (5m tall, around 10” in diameter and extremely heavy) and its equipment. Hence the staircased scaffolding which will allow for the safe movement of both people, equipment and material to and from the roof as the mast is removed and work carried out on the roof.

Our Consultant Architect, Katharine Rutherford, working with our Structural Engineer Adrian Cox, are finalising the specifications for the work on the tower roof, and we look forward to sharing details of the work as it progresses each month, in the Parish News. Working on an ancient building presents its own particular challenges and specific methods and materials are required, which I am sure you will find both interesting and informative, as maybe you get to know your parish church in a little more detail than before.

Vivienne Verren & Anna Newton

St Margaret of Antioch