HLF Tower Project Report
June 2016 - Tower Completed!
March 2016 Tower Update
On Wednesday 24th
February there was a site meeting with Mark Norris (Pierra
Restorations), James Kenton (Church architect) and David John
(Historic England) who was extremely happy with the standard of the work being done
on the tower
The top two lifts of
the scaffolding have been struck (taken down). We can now see some of
the repair work that has been done on the tower.
We had hoped that the
Church Clock would be returned to the tower during the first week of
March. Unfortunately Smith of Derby do not have engineers available
until March 21st/22nd when they will put the
serviced and regilded clock back on the tower. At the moment it is on
display for visitors who attend tours at the Smith of Derby
remaining ragstone lower down the tower will be completed in the next
three weeks on the tower and round the windows. All the scaffolding
can then be removed, we hope by 31st March.
Meanwhile on Monday
14th March John Taylor (Bell Founders) will move into the
bell ringing chamber to start work on installing the new rope guides
as well as repairing the bells.
David John (Historic
England) will return to inspect the tower when all work is completed
so that he can sign off St. Peter’s Parish Church as no longer
being ‘an historic church at risk’.
Please find a copy of the update that's been posted in the church. Please be aware that this is a large file (10Mb).
HLF TOWER PROJECT
OF THE HISTORIC CHURCH
OF ST PETER IN THANET
In 2012 St. Peter’s
church tower was inspected by the Historic England architect David John, and
the church architect Andrew Clague. Their assessment was that the tower was in
a very precarious state and without serious restoration work taking place there
was the distinct possibility that the tower would have to be closed. That would
almost certainly mean the church would also have to close.
In addition to the
work to restore the stonework of the tower, the clock needed a major service,
the face of the clock required re-gilding, and the west window in the church
tower also required major restoration work.
As a result of this
tower inspection, Historic England placed St. Peter’s Church on their ‘At Risk’
It was estimated
that the total cost for the work involved would be between £200,000 and
£300,000. A decision was taken by the church PCC to form a Committee to look at
raising money by obtaining grants (Heritage Lottery Committee), and to form a
Church Fundraising Committee to raise additional funds through Church events.
THE FIRST STAGE
In 2013 The Heritage
Lottery Fund (HLF) was approached and a representative from the HLF came to St.
Peters to meet the Church HLF Committee, inspect the church tower, and offer
good advice. The HLF representative felt that we met the criteria for a
possible ‘Development Grant’ enabling the church to take up to twelve months to
prepare a detailed plan for a full application to the HLF. We were advised, however, that there would
still be the need to raise additional funds as the HLF grant would only cover
about 60% of the total cost. In December 2013 an application for a ‘Development
Grant’ was successful and we were awarded an initial £19,000 development grant.
THE DEVELOPMENT GRANT
Early in 2014, as a
result of the development grant, the HLF Committee appointed Clague of
Canterbury as our architect adviser for the project. In order to determine the full extent of the
restoration required the architects arranged for a drone to photograph, in
detail, each side of the church tower. The architects could then more clearly
identify the amount of Kent Ragstone required on each of the tower walls, as
well as the areas of flint that needed restoration.
Quotes were obtained
from four stonemasonry companies, from Smith of Derby for the clock
repairs/re-gilding, and from John Corley of Deal for the restoration of the
West Window. A specialist firm BAQUS was employed as the CDM Co-ordinator for
all the Health and Safety aspects of the project.
During 2014 the HLF
Committee also had to show how they would deliver other elements of any project
that is HLF funded. The final estimation was that the total cost of the project
would be just under £250,000. The application for a HLF grant was delivered, by
hand, to the HLF headquarters in London a few days before Christmas 2014.
GRANT APPLICATION RESULT
February 2014: the
letter arrived from the HLF to say that we had been awarded a HLF grant of
£154,700. It was expected that we would also be able to reclaim about £36,000
VAT from HMRC. This would still leave a shortfall of about £60,000.
Before work could begin we had to
demonstrate that all the funding was in place, that the ecclesiastical
insurance for the work on the tower was agreed and that we had the written
approval from the church authorities in both Canterbury and London. Eventually
all the paperwork was in place and we were given permission to start work in
May 2015. It had been estimated that the work would take six months. The first
three to four weeks, however, would be spent erecting the scaffolding.
CUTTING OUT THE RAGSTONE
Once the contractors, Pierra Restorations Ltd, were on site
they began cutting out the eroded Kent ragstone that would need to be replaced.
ARRIVAL OF THE RAGSTONE
There is now only one quarry
supplying Kent Ragstone meaning that the supplies from the quarry are very much
dependent on where you are on the firm’s order list. Blocks ragstone prepared by the quarry were
delivered either directly to the site or to the stonemasons’ base to be cut
into the required size and shape before being delivered to St. Peter’s.
FIXING THE RAGSTONE
As soon as the new Kent Ragstone arrived on site it was
winched up to the required lift (level) of the scaffolding and fixed into
position thus replacing the ragstone that had been cut out.
THE STONEMASON AT WORK
The stonemason on site was
responsible for carving the ragstone into the many required shapes. Some
individual pieces took up to two days to complete, while the numerous pieces
for the arch over a window could take over a week.
OTHER WORK ON THE TOWER
The replacement of
old ragstone with new ragstone was the most time-consuming part of the project.
The rest of the church tower also needed restoration work.
REPOINTING. All loose lime
mortar had to be scraped out round the large areas of flint work of the tower.
These areas were re-pointed with new lime mortar.
NEW LOU’VRE BOARDS, NETTING AND BIRD SPIKES. The old lou’vre boards
high up in the tower were removed and replaced with new lou’vre boards. New
netting was attached to these openings to the belfry to prevent might access by
birds. Hundreds of bird spikes were also stuck on ledges of the church tower to discourage the birds.
CALNE STONE. A few pieces of Calne stone were needed to replace the
old Calne stone that had been used on church restoration in the past.
WEST WINDOW. The west window
of the church in the church tower was dismantled and taken to Deal for several
months so that the window could be repaired and restored by the specialist firm
of John Corley. The repair and restoration of the West window was financed by a
very generous anonymous donation.
As soon as the
scaffolding had been erected at the beginning of the project Smith of Derby, a
famous clockmaker, came to St. Peters to take down the clock from the church
tower to take it back to their workshops for a complete service and to re-gild
the clock dial. While at the Derby workshops the church clock was on display,
and we understand, became the centre-piece of the public tours that Smith of
Derby undertake at their workshops.
RETURN OF THE CLOCK
It was not possible to return the
clock until all the work on the tower was complete and some of the scaffolding
had been dismantled. Smith of Derby returned and initially fixed a new wooded
frame to the clock tower, before fixing the clock to the new frame.
Throughout the length of the
project there were regular site visits to monitor progress, to solve problems
that had occurred and to check that the standard of work was as required. James
Kenton (Clague of Canterbury architect) was the main link with the contractors.
David John (Historic England architect) visited St. Peters on three occasions
to check on progress whilst the project was in progress. Members of the HLF
Committee were also involved in the site visits.
SOME OF THE OTHER ASPECTS OF THE PROJECT REQUIRED BY THE
A CHURCH TRAIL. A NADFAS (National Association of Decorative
and Fine Arts Societies) church trail was produced over a number of months with
the help of a NADFAS Church Trail representative. The question sheet is on two
sides of A4 paper in a child friendly design but is also suitable for
accompanying adults. The church trail encourages engagement with the
architecture, history and furnishings of the church. An answer sheet is also
available for visitors to the church.
TO THE CHURCH COMMUNITY
entire tower restoration project photographic evidence of the progress of the
Church Tower project was displayed in the church for members of the
congregation and visitors to the church. The aim was to show the progress being
made by the contractors and to record what was going on up the tower.
stonemason was working on site for several months most of the work he was
carrying out was away from the public view. Two occasions were advertised for
the stonemason to demonstrate his skills to the public.
NEW CHURCH LEAFLET
A new church leaflet
was made available for visitors to St. Peter’s Church. The cost of printing the
leaflet was part of the HLF project.
Mark Castro and Max Philo of Modus Films were contracted to produce a
short film to show the work being done on the church tower, and also recorded
many of the activities that go on as part of the life of the church. Max and
Mark visited the church on numerous occasions during the HLF tower project and
the result is an excellent film highlighting to great effect the work of St.
RECYCLING SOME OF THE KENT RAGSTONE
Some of the Kent Ragstone cut out
from the church tower has been stored in the churchyard and will be used in the
new Garden of Remembrance in the churchyard once official approval has been
The three main grants obtained by the HLF Committee were from the
Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of St. Andrews and St. Peter’s churches
(£10,000) and the Friends of Kent Churches (£20,000)
The Church Fundraising Committee arranged regular
fundraising events bridging the gap between the total cost of the project and
the funds raised by the grants above. There was also the need to find funds for
other repairs to the church and the church halls. Just a few of the many
fundraising events are shown below.
FOR THE HLF SUPPORT
A requirement of the
HLF grant was that we acknowledged the HLF support as often as possible.
THE FINAL RESULT OF THE HLF PROJECT
It was planned for the work on
the tower to be completed in approximately six months between June and November
2015. It soon became obvious that this target was not going to be achieved
because of some additional problems that came to light as work progressed, and
also because there were long delays between the ordering of the Kent ragstone
and its delivery from the quarry. The church HLF committee contacted our HLF
adviser, Simon Shaw, who readily agreed an extension to the contract. Rather
than a short extension the HLF agreed a flexible extension allowing for any bad
weather that might prevent work during the winter months. Eventually the work
on the tower was completed in June 2016.
OF THE TOWER
June 2016: just before the scaffolding was taken down the Historic
England architect, David John, returned to St. Peter’s church for a final
inspection of the church tower, with James Kenton, (Clague of Canterbury
architect), and members of the HLF Committee. David John was extremely pleased
with the work that had been done on the tower. He announced that the historic
church of St. Peter’s in Thanet could be removed from the ‘Historic England
Churches at Risk’ register. The church tower and the church of St. Peter’s were
no longer in danger of being closed to the public for many years to come.