Contact Details:

The Parish Office 

St Peter's Church Hall 

Hopeville Avenue 

BROADSTAIRS 

CT10 2TR 

Tel: 01843 866061
Email Us

HLF Tower Project Report

June 2016 - Tower Completed!

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

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

Image1

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.

Image2

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 workshops.

Image3

Any 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.

Image4

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’.

Image5

 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

 

THE START

 

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’ register.

 Church

clock

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.

 site visit

USING 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.

dronedrone2

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.


scaffodscaffold

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.


ragstoneragstone

ARRIVAL OF THE RAGSTONE

 ragstonestone

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.


palletspallets

FIXING THE RAGSTONE

 fixingfixing

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.

 workwork

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.

pointingwork

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.   

  bird nettingBird Spikes

spikeswire

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.

windowwinow

                          THE CHURCH CLOCK

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.

 clock downlift

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.

clock gonewoodenclock

SITE VISITS

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.

 visitsvisits

SOME OF THE OTHER ASPECTS OF THE PROJECT REQUIRED BY THE HLF

 

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. 

Church Trail 

PROGRESS REPORTS TO THE CHURCH COMMUNITY

 

Throughout the 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.

 isplaydisplay

STONEMASONARY DEMONSTRATIONS

 

Although the 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.

 

 stonemason demodisplaydisplay

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. Peter’s Church.


modusmodus

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 obtained.


recyclerecyle

FUND RAISING

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)

FUNDRAISING EVENTS

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. 

concertMusic night


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOR THE HLF SUPPORT

A requirement of the HLF grant was that we acknowledged the HLF support as often as possible.


lotterylottery

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.


finishfinishfinish

finishfinish

FINAL INSPECTION 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.