Nobody likes to see a building as magnificent as Lincoln Cathedral covered in scaffolding, but unfortunately this is an essential part of the never ending restoration challenge that we face.
The main focus of our mason’s work at present is the turrets which frame the west front of the Cathedral.
Following a hard frost in 2009, decorative stone broke away from the turrets posing a hazard to public safety. A specialist team of abseiling stonemasons surveyed the condition of the turrets. They discovered structural cracks and crumbling areas of stonework which required urgent attention.
It became apparent that a substantial amount of repair work was necessary to keep pace with the needs of the building and to protect the future of the West Front. This led to an immediate revision of the restoration plan for the great church, and a five year-long programme of restoration work was devised for the two great turrets totaling £2.5million GBP (around $4million USD).
The great West Front of Lincoln Cathedral is widely recognised as one of the finest historic façades in England. Its grace and beauty attracts and inspires visitors to Lincoln. The West Front comprises a beautifully detailed Norman centre surrounded by outstanding Early English Gothic embellishments. In the early 13th century, the turrets were constructed at either side of the frontage. Stretching from ground to more than half the height of the Cathedral frame the entrance. Carved detailing on the turrets is typical of gothic architecture. Tiers of arcading are interspersed with richly carved capitals and embossed string courses. Each turret is surmounted by an octagonal pinnacle which has delicately carved finials as decoration. Given their significance to the structural integrity of the building and to the history of gothic architecture, it became imperative to restore the turrets.
Work on the southwest turret commenced in 2011 and is continuing. Restoration of the northwest turret is scheduled to begin in 2013.Restoration of the turrets involves:
- Saving original stonework using mortar repairs
- Cleaning stonework using the appropriate conservation techniques
- Replacing a large number of stones, many of which requiring carving to follow the decorative pattern of the existing mouldings and capitals.
Working closely with the Ruddocks, we came up with the fun idea of putting a large panoramic view of the city onto the hoarding boards. ‘The View from St Hugh’ is 80ft long and is made up of 20 individual photographs stitched together, taken by local photographer Dick Makin. They reveal the south of the city with views as far as the power station near Newark and closer up stunning shots of the Bailgate area.
The design team at Ruddocks came up with some fantastic ideas for the rest of the hoarding boards, including ‘Meet the Team’ and the ‘Site Office’. There has been a huge amount of interest with people following the progress on Twitter and Facebook. Grateful thanks go to our sponsors including; The Lindum Group, Simons, Lincolnshire Cooperative, Investors in Lincoln , Ruddocks and Clugston, all who have made significant contributions to restoring individual areas on the Turret. The contribution from the Lincolnshire Cooperative was as part of their Big Birthday Awards. You can follow the link to their YouTube to see us on the video they screened at their AGM.
Lincoln is one of only a few cathedrals in its own workforce dedicated to the building and preserving traditional craft skills. This also enables us to keep our costs to the minimum.
You can find some of the are many ways in which you can support this work by following this LINK.Support Our Cathedral
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