From January 2016
All images are copyright Ian Povey, Stan Brotherton & Carmel Langridge
Week 39: w/c 1st February 2016
Chris Povey (Ringing Master) taking up the scaffold to inspect the carved face. The carving has been based on him, as a taken of the churches appreciation, for his thirty-two years as Ringing Master. He was very honoured by the gesture and very happy to meet Sam Findlay, who undertook the carving.
An additional stone delivery was received. This included some of the fine finials, from the buttresses. The first finials were being installed during the visit. These are of very high quality and fit perfectly into their positions.
The weather continues to warm up, which is a good sign for progress. Monthly progress report issued to PCC, to update members on the projects position. Except for the extended programme, the project is in a strong position. The joint insurance policy has been extended, until 4 April, to cover the overrun of time. Wychavon’s Park License has also been extended until the end of April 2016.
Financial report from Stan Brotherton received on 7 February. Although the project is in budget, there is a delay in payment of grant from the HLF. Therefore there are presently insufficient funds to pay incoming invoices, with no sign of when payment will be received.
Stone is being fitted at a good rate – as long as stone can be carved in time, the project looks on target to be complete by the end of the month.
Week 40: w/c 8th February 2016
Smith of Derby onsite to replace the newly restored clock hands. As with the clock face, these look fantastic. An additional charge was being proposed by Smiths, to return to site to re-start the clock. As the clock had originally been stopped by Chris Povey, this additional visit was not deemed necessary. The clock hands were therefore set in the “12 o’clock” position; ready for restarting after the scaffolding has been removed.
Confirmation received from the HLF that payment should be received w/c 15 February, which will allow payments to be made in good time.
Additional cleaning was being undertaken, to the base plinth, on the north side of the tower. This area had not been included in the original scope of works, but looked very dirty compared to the remaining tower. An instruction has been issued by the project architect, to cover this.
Stone is continuing to be pieced-in. This has now included a large piece of stone from the west parapet. This was one of the first pieces of defective stone to be removed, so it is good to see the new piece in place. The carving is quite intricate, however it fitted perfectly and matches the existing stone detailing.
Stone is being fitted at a good rate – It is good to see the clock hands re attached and will be good to see the weather vanes returned next week.
Week 41: w/c 15th February 2016
Project Meeting undertaken on the 19 February. It was stated that works will now be complete by the 5 March 2016. It is estimated that the scaffolding will take approximately five weeks to remove. It was stated to the contractor, that all works must be complete by the 23 April 2016, ready for the rededication ceremony.
Weathervanes have now been re-fixed. The remedial works were inspected by the project architect and found to be satisfactory. The weathervanes will continue to be monitored over the next couple of weeks, to ensure to rust returns.
Scaffold alterations have been undertaken to allow the additional cleaning, under the archway, to commence. This will be completed by the end of next week. During cleaning seven bags of pigeon waste were removed from the tops of the vaults in the corners. Stone is continuing to be pieced-in, including the curved hood mould for the buttresses. These items were very experimental, due to their shape. The results are excellent and they blend in perfectly with the finials above.
Due to the impending completion, a final hard hat tour has been arranged for the week commencing 22 February 2016. This will be undertaken in conjunction with a final photographic survey of the new work, by the Vale of Evesham Historical Society (VEHS).
The end is close, with only two weeks remaining until completion. The difficult pieces have been undertaken now, so no further delays are expected.
Week 42: w/c 22nd February 2016
Two hard hat tours undertaken on the 25 February. In all eleven additional visitors were able to see the works and see the view from the top of the tower. Due to the previous issues with the weathervanes, the contractor had requested that the top lifts of the pinnacle scaffolding, not be accessed, to prevent any risk of further damage, so close to completion. This was obeyed but it did not stop visitors enjoying the experience.
The photographic survey was undertaken by the Vale of Evesham Historical Society (VEHS), with nearly a whole day’s worth of photos being taken.
Final load of carved stone delivered to site, consisting of finials and mullion stone. It was very pleasing to see the last items of stone arrive on site. Additional cleaning works, under the arch, have now been completed. It had originally been proposed that the existing pigeon spikes be removed and replaced with an alternative preventative measure. However, just prior to their removal, it was stated that the existing spikes had been donated. It was therefore decided to repair the existing spikes.
It had been intended to make a video of ascending the scaffold and the finished tower faces, however this was not possible and has been re scheduled for next week. There are now only about five new pieces of stone to fit, before works are complete. Works will be completed next week, which is a huge relief!
Week 43: w/c 29th February 2016
A final amount of photographic surveying was undertaken by the Vale of Evesham Historical Society (VEHS), on 3 March, to cover photos that were not of sufficient quality. Initial video footage taken of climbing the scaffolding and coverage of all the tower. Due to some technical difficulties, some of the video did not record, therefore additional filming was undertaken the following day, prior to closing the site. The film is to be edited, free of charge, by Sam Dyer, to be used as a future ‘visitor aid’.
Steve Johnson, Treasurer of the Guild of Ringers and past ringer, also expressed interest in climbing the scaffold and inspected the works, He was therefore given a tour.
A project financial report was revived from the project quantity surveyor. Presently, it has been estimated that the project is on budget. This information was presented to the project architect and contractor. Some basic calculations were undertaken during the meeting, where it was found that some items had been omitted from the valuation, previously included in the architect’s Instruction. During a subsequent meeting between the contractor and quantity surveyor, the project was found to be approximately £7,000 to £8,000 under budget (including contingency, which reflected what was expected).
Project meeting undertaken on the 3 March. All works were inspected by the project architect and approved, prior to the removal of the scaffold. With works complete and signed off, the site was officially closed on the 4 March 2016. A copy of the new Bell Tower book was presented to Nick Sharland to thank him for all his hard work throughout the project.