Friday, 9 February 2007

Vault Inspection II

The inspection of the vaults took place during the night on two evenings this week. Although the rest of the building has been regularly monitored and repaired, no close inspection of the vaults had been made because of their inaccessibility. The new high-level platform that we hired was able to reach this far.

The Cathedral roof was weakened during World War II by bombs that fell nearby (although the Cathedral itself was not hit). Water stains on the brickwork show that some cracks were opened up. Much work was down in the post-war years; a protective copper covering was placed over the domes (giving them their familiar green appearance). Inside, a wire mesh, constructed of rectangular sections, was placed over the vaults of the domes, like an inverted sieve.

The high level platform was capable of moving around the circumference of the domes (below), enabling a thorough inspection. A formal report will be produced by our architect in the coming weeks.

In the picture below, the mesh placed over the concrete and brick of the vaults is clearly visible.

Unfortunately, on both nights, the platform malfunctioned, and our architect and his assitant were stranded for an hour! A full vindication of my decision not to join them aloft.


Anonymous said...

1. I pity the mosaicist.

2. Is that a crack there in the first dome?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for preserving the dark and mysterious grandeur of your cathedral in London. Were this a cathedral in America, in addition to whatever whitewashing would have been undertaken in the 70s, all of the domes would be brightly lit and the whole thing would have been brightly re-painted three or four years ago. There would have been much architectural prettiness but nothing of mystery or grandeur. Keep it up, Westminster; don't put halogen bulbs in the rims of those domes!