Let there be light
The transformation of the church is moving on apace. Now that the initial concrete base for the floor is complete, one of the most exciting features is beginning to appear. Chris Anstey the stonemason and his colleague Richard Stone have been opening up the new west end entrance.
One of the most frequent questions many people have asked is, ‘But how will they hold up the stained glass window while they knock a big hole in the wall underneath it?!‘ It’s a subject that Chris himself has spent many hours considering. The answer proved to be a carefully calculated balanced cantilever system.
A more frequent approach is to use ‘acrow props’ – telescopic tubular steel props which are extended up to the level of the joist above the new doorway. But these then require continual adjustment to compensate for the intense downward pressure on them. Chris’s method of breeze blocks suspended from rods perpendicular to the joist means that there is constant upward pressure from the weights to match the many tonnes of stone and glass above. It has been described as looking ‘a bit medieval’ – and in fact this system may well have featured in the building of our great cathedrals.
Having opened up the aperture, Chris is now fitting beautifully dressed stones which will frame the new oak and glass doors.
The church interior is full of scaffolding but already the difference made by natural light streaming in is spectacular.
And it’s becoming obvious that in due course the big three-lancet west window will be more stunning than ever.
The builders gave our photographer access to the scaffolding in the chancel which enabled him to take some great photos. Probably the last time anyone will have this view for a while.