From July 2015
All images are copyright Stan Brotherton or Ian Povey
Week 15: w/c 3rd August 2015
Onsite on the 6th August to witness the final face inspection of the pinnacles by Richard Brook. This final inspection was successful: all works are in line with the original scope of works, therefore no additional costs should be experienced. An additional Conservator commenced on site at the beginning of the week to assist with the cleaning process.
On the 6th August the banners relating to the Battle of Evesham were collected from the printer and were fixed to the hoarding. The banners were designed by local artist Ian Gibson and depict the Bell Tower extremely well. When placed on the hoarding, they attracted a lot of attention from members of the public walking passed. A request was received from a member of Wychavon District Council asking whether a St Georges Cross banner could be attached to one elevation of the scaffold. Due to the restrictions stated by the scaffold designers, this request was refused.
On the 7th August, permission was obtained from SSHC for Chris Povey climb the scaffold. After 31 years as Ringing Master, Chris was very grateful to get a good look at the tower externally and was very appreciative of the opportunity. On this day Jones Scaffolding were onsite to remove excess materials ready for the Anniversary weekend. This was undertaken and SSHC tidied site.
The site is now looking much tidier ready for the weekend. The hoarding is looking better following the erection of the banners, however due to the overall size of the hoarding, there is still a great deal to fill!
The cleaning process is continuing with various different methods. Water pressure at the top of the tower is low but, bearing in mind this is coming from the standard mains supply in Church House, it is doing remarkably well to get anywhere near the top. SSHC have been asked whether this will cause any additional delay but they have stated that they can use other methods to continue the works.
Pictures taken on Saturday 1st August 2015 at the ceremony dedicating a new plaque on the Simon de Montfort memorial (part of the 750th commemoration of the Battle of Evesham):
Banners around the Bell Tower:
Pictures of the Bell Tower taken during the Battle of Evesham 2015 festival.
Week 16: w/c 10th August 2015
Project Manager Ian Povey was on site on the 13th August to meet Richard Brook and Keith Cotton of Smiths of Derby (clock restoration contractor). During these discussions, the specific colour of the clock face was discussed.
Although Smiths of Derby undertook the previous painting works in 1990, they have no records of the shade of blue used. Colour samples have been requested prior to repainting works. The specification of the paint system has also been requested for prior approval by the project Architect. Currently, the clock face will be painted at the end of the project. Due to this being potentially in the colder months, it was suggested that this be brought forwards in the programme to prevent and further possible delays or effects to quality.
The brushing down process is continuing with the balustrading has been completed. The cleaning of the upper masonry panels are in progress. Cleaning methods are consisting of a mixture of brushing and the use of a poultice on the stone face. The poultice consists of an absorbent material consisting of a paste which is applied to the area to be cleaned. The poultice is kept moist and left on the stain as long as necessary for it to draw the stain out of the masonry. As it dries, the paste absorbs the staining material so that it is not redeposited on the masonry surface. The paste turns into a thick film which can be easily removed.
It had been originally intended to use a ThermaTech system for cleaning the stone. ThermaTech is a system that produces superheated water at temperatures up to 150 degrees centigrade, for the purpose of masonry cleaning and paint/coatings removal on heritage and other structures. After initial testing at the top of the tower, this technique seemed less effective than first thought. Instead a traditional water nebulised spray was tested. This is very simple system of directing a fine mist of water towards a concentrated area of stone. Water is sprayed for approximately an hour, and then brush cleaned. This system is rarely used these days in favour of more chemically based methods, however it is having fantastic results on the Bell Tower stone. The use of this system has been approved by our Architect.
During an inspection of what was previously thought to be limewash on the north elevation, it was actually found to be organic and probably lichen growth. Some forms of Lichen are protected therefore our Architect instructed a Lichen Consultant to undertake an inspection. This is classed as additional item to the contract and will incur additional cost. Permission was obtained from the PCC prior to formal instruction.
Photographs taken on 15th August 2015:
Week 17: w/c 17th August 2015
Site meeting between the Ian Povey (Project Manager), the contractor Sally Strachey Historic Conservation (SSHC) and the project architect. However, the project architect Richard Brook will be away on annual leave for two weeks; so introduced to Andrew Salter, another conservation architect standing in for Richard while he is away.
The main points raised during the meeting were as follows
- Stone cleaning process inspected by the Project Architects. There is an optimum level of cleaning that needs to be found, recorded and monitored. This is very important as, over the surface area of the elevations, a patchwork quilt effect could result from different levels of cleaning. All current results have been approved. The cleaning process has been most effective on the east elevation.
- Lisa Etherton (SSHC Contracts Manager) asked about the programme implications. In had initially been intended to undertake the works ‘elevation by elevation’ however the cleaning process has been undertaken in a ‘top down’ process so that the good weather can be utilised for work at the top. This means it is harder to monitor the works in relation to the programme.
- Lisa informed that there will be cost implications if the project were to overrun, namely the extension of Works licence from WDC and the joint insurance policy. There is also a ‘Liquidated and Ascertained Damages’ clause in the contract that can be triggered by an overrun of time.
- On the day of the meeting there were only two conservators onsite. This was raised with Lisa, who stated there would be additional operatives joining the project.
- Updated contract information was requested from Richard Brook. Annotated copies of the drawings are to be issued to SSHC and to the project manager.
The issue of low water pressure was raised by IJP to ensure we were not causing delays with the cleaning process. IJP had investigated potential booster systems, whoever the water usage would be required from SSHC to size a suitable system. SSHC said they would leave it for now and monitor the situation.
The inspection by the Lichen Consultant was undertaken on the 18th August. The lichen was found to be dead and therefore did not need protecting. A full report is to be prepared and issued in due course.
The Scaffold Alarm company were onsite during the meeting to investigate the constant triggering of the alarm. The main control box was found to have been wired incorrectly and was rectified accordingly.
The project manager was informed on the 20th August that the Town Council wished to undertake a photo shoot of works in progress, on 26th August. This will involve visits from members of Evesham Town Council (including the Mayor) and Wychavon District Council. Permission was obtained from SSHC and confirmed back to the organisers. To acknowledge the large donation made by the New Homes Bonus, Stan Brotherton designed a banner to be fixed to the hoarding. A quotation has been obtained and an order placed with Acorn Creative. Stan has also arranged for additional Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) banners for additional coverage of the hoarding. Fortunately the HLF banners are free.
The results of the works undertaken so far have been excellent, however the number of operatives present on site is starting to concern. This has been raised with SSHC.
Week 18: w/c 24th August 2015
The two stone masons who will undertake the carving for the new stone were onsite to undertake measurements of the stone and make templates of the mouldings and carvings to be renewed. The decorative carvings are to undertaken within the SSHC workshops and delivered to site for fixing. Cleaning continuing with the use of the poultice. All poultice work on the east elevation is now complete.
The site was visited by the Mayer of Evesham, Sue Ablett and members of the Town Council and Wychavon District Council. The visitors were shown to the third and sixth lift of the scaffold by Nick Sharland (SSHC’s Site Manager) and Ian Povey (Project Manager), were the stone work cleaning process was shown. To comply with the current Health and Safety site regulations, five hard hats and hi-visibility vests were purchased and issued to all visitors. Photographs were taken which are intended to be published in the Evesham Journal next week.
During the visit, members of the town council suggested that it would be a good idea to have banners made up to acknowledge the New Homes Bonus Scheme. Ian Povey was happy to report that had already been arranged, thanks to Stan Brotherton.
Information regarding the revised scope of works requested by the DAC, via Stan Brotherton on the 25th August. The Project Architect were informed and issued the revised drawings on 27th August. The measurement of the defective stone marks the commencement of the stone replacement process (all of the new stone to be ordered). There is some concern relating to the number of operatives on site, which has been raised with SSHC’s Site Manager.
Week 19: w/c 31st August 2015
A site stone mason has joined the project this week. He will be based on site for the remainder of the project, initially removing the defective stone, then piecing in the new stone when it arrives. Removal has commenced on the south elevation, western buttress. Cleaning of the south elevation is continuing using both the poultice and nebular system. Project Manager Ian Povey informed by SSHC’s Site Manager that there will be additional operatives on site next week
Site meeting arranged for Thursday 10th September between the project architect, SSHC Site Manager and head stone mason to discuss the full scope of stone removal.
The churchwarden Helen Gray asked whether members of the project team could be interviewed for the parish magazine. Interviews have been arranged with SSHC, Richard Brook and IJP for next week.
Paint colour samples and specification are still awaited from the Clock restoration company. SSHC informed.
Five mortar samples have been produced by SSHC for approval at next week’s meeting. It is intended to have these mixed away from site and delivered in bulk, which will reduce time and assist with quality assurance.
Additional HLF banners have been delivered. It is intended that these will be fixed to the hoarding when the additional banners are complete.
As part of the Appeal, the Project Architect has been instructed to undertake a feasibility study relating to the opening of the tower to members of the public. These additional works have been arranged by Stan Brotherton and approved by the PCC.