Friday 18th May 18
Another industrious and progressive week at St Gregory’s church!
Pen Hill have now constructed Lifts 4, 5 and 6 of scaffold and now only have 1 more level to go. Overhead boarding has been secured to the beams in the central nave and on lifts. This coupled with the hoarding on the aisles has eliminated the natural light. In view of this we have installed festoon lighting; this will provide adequate light in the short term. Limited seating has been positioned in the nave with additional pews installed at the west end (albeit not facing the altar).
A general precaution for those attending Mass on Sunday - you will be entering an environment which, throughout the past 4 weeks (and going forward), is a construction site. You are therefore requested to exercise caution when entering and leaving the Church. In the event that you need to evacuate in an emergency, please leave via the signed exits (South Porch, through the corridor to the Sacristy; if worshipping at the rear of the church, through the West Door).
Friday 11th May 18
The construction phase of scaffolding continues with further deliveries of supplies arriving last Wednesday. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd lifts of scaffold have now been erected (there will be a total of 7 lifts in all). This covers the area from the West Porch to the Sanctuary which measures 100ft x 26ft. 146 overhead beams are now located in the central nave with over 3000 fittings (see picture) used. We are hopeful lifts 4 and 5 will be completed next week.
The polystyrene has been removed from the timber roof boards, which appear to be in good condition.
Nicolson & Co (pipe organ builders) have been commissioned to secure and protect the organ; they will visit on Monday the 14th May to undertake this task. Our wonderful organ is a valuable asset of St Gregory’s which will be carefully protected throughout the renovation.
Ply hoarding has been secured to the scaffold which has effectively closed both the North and South aisles to the public – the Nave will, as originally intended, be open for Sunday Services.
Thomas Czech, a senior plasterer for Ellis & Co, will commence repair work to the aisles towards the end of the week. Thomas is heritage skilled, uses historic techniques to repair on a like-for-like basis and has experience of work in Grade I and II buildings.
Friday 4th May 18
The initial delivery of scaffold was delivered to St Gregory’s on Monday and Tuesday. The scaffolding contractor responsible for the construction is Pen Mill from Yeovil in Somerset and this work has now started in earnest.
The weight of the scaffold tubes will be in the region of 72 tons (25 ton delivered to date). In addition to the tubing, it is anticipated that the scaffold furniture will include approximately 1500 boards, 200 sleepers and 20 long steel girders. The workforce will comprise of 4/5 men per day and it is hoped that the construction will be completed within 4 weeks.
Pen Mill have experience in conservation work and have recently worked in the Cathedrals of Wells, Truro and Salisbury as well as numerous churches across the South West.
The protection phase continues will the majority of memorials, statues and canopies now boxed with 18 mm ply sheeting. The windows have been protected with 10 mm clear Perspex. Construction of the low level platforms will have been completed by Monday 7th May; this will enable work to start on the removal of the polystyrene and glue-residue which currently covers the aisle ceiling boards. These boards will eventually be rubbed-down, sanded and re-varnished.
We are delighted to advise that work commenced on the internal renovation of the Church on Wednesday 18th April by our preferred contractor Ellis & Co. This Company has been restoring and conserving historic buildings and structures across the South West of England and Wales for over a third of a century. They are a large and highly respected family business located in the market town of Shepton Mallet, Somerset. In addition to working on ecclesiastical and public heritage buildings they have their own large workshops for the conservation of crafted building materials.
They only work on graded listed buildings so have significant experience of working historic renovations, repair and restorations – winning the RICS2017 and National Federation of Builders national awards for conservations building last year.
Recent principle contractor work includes repairs to cathedrals in Gloucester, Wells, Worcester, Exeter, Bristol, Chichester and Truro.
You will see in the photographs below that work is well underway on the “protection phase” of the project. The pews have been relocated and the floor covered. The many significant carved memorials, statues and canopies in the church are being boxed-in prior to the scaffold being erected. The sleeper bearers are being positioned to spread the weight of the scaffold which will commence on Monday 30th April. This phase will take for 4 – 6 weeks to complete. Finally, we remain confident that services will revert to the church on Saturday 19th May.