Speaker: James Charlwood, Conservation Stonemason & Director, Cathedral Stone

So, the Saint marks louvres project is really about replacing these deteriorated louvres. They were failing quite dramatically. They were cracking, fragments were falling into the streets and protective mesh had to be put on the outside.

We're completely replacing all the louvres now, and this means that the mesh will be able to come off the outside, which will enable the tower to really look the way it was originally meant to look.

Speaker: Nigel Lewis, Heritage Architect

All buildings need maintenance. Historic or not. Historic buildings need specialist maintenance where you have a closer understanding of what's required and sometimes the constraints are greater. So, we've had to go about this in a particular way because it is vital to the restoration of the church to have this done properly rather than just leaving it with a permanent safety grill on the outside.

Speaker: James Charlwood, Conservation Stonemason & Director, Cathedral Stone

Being a 20th century building, it was a very transitional period of time with technologies. So, we're not dealing with stone here, we're dealing with precast and cast insitu concrete.

Probably the most important skill that we bring to a project like this, because it's not a stone project, it's more our conservation thinking. It's the ability to be able to understand materials and what the decay mechanisms are and to make sure that we can rebuild these louvres better than how they were built originally.

Speaker: Daniel Troy, Conservation Trade Assistant, Cathedral Stone

Some of the logistics of the site: there's 144 louvres to take out and replace, 45 odd kilos each, and our highest point on this job is about 22 metres, so you can imagine it's quite a big process.

Speaker: Nigel Lewis, Heritage Architect

I think the thing that is distinctive about this building, it's the landmark because of it's got this really special, very sharp, what's called a broach Spire. When you're approaching it from any distance, it's very narrow, very tapered and very distinctive.

Because we're standing inside the spire today, I mean, you look around, and you've got brick walls, you look above, you’ve got off form concrete going up inside of the Spire.

I've got a childhood memory of this building and, and how exciting the Spire was and we're very excited about the work we've done elsewhere and the restoration of the Napier Waller west windows which are really special. It's been a long, long process, you know, going back over 10 years since I've been involved.

Speaker: James Charlwood, Conservation Stonemason & Director, Cathedral Stone

We are taking this tower back to the way it was designed, without the mesh covering the louvres. The louvres of a tower are like the voice of the tower in a lot of ways. The bells ring out through the louvres, and I think it's a really important architectural detail that needs to be returned to its original.

Page last updated: 15/03/23