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Spire Repairs: Christchurch, Highbury

Conservation, Ecclesiastical

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Before and after: Christchurch, Highbury

The falling of masonry necessitated the fencing off of the surrounding area of forecourt, and a steeplejack survey revealed the failure of stone due to rusting metal cramps, and previous cementitious repairs reaching the end of their useful life. 

The building was declared on the Heritage at Risk register, enabling the award of a two-stage HLF Grant for Places of Worship.  The Development phase enabled a close survey of the stone by the architect and structural engineer, from which a comprehensive repair package was drawn up. Severe stone jacking was recorded, with the entire spire being jacked above the level of the upper lucarnes 

Most of the repairs went as planned, however it was only after starting to deal with a some cracked corbels at the top of the tower stage that rusting bars were discovered behind all of the corbels, and that they all needed to be extracted. The church gained an further grant from another local funder for the completion of this work 

The repairs included some very fine stone carvings by the masons of DBR London Ltd, adding a final flourish to the rejuvenated structure. The repair of the spire gave the locality a landmark it had forgotten to appreciate, and shows strongly that the church is alive and well. The work went hand in hand with a local history project in which the community were encouraged to research and send in memories concerning the building. 

Repairs to the corbels: Christchurch, Highbury
Working stone on the scaffolding: Christchurch, Highbury