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Tower Repair 2019

A major Tower repair programme was started at All Saints' Cottenham in April 2019. The first step has been to erect a complex scaffolding system to allow ready access and safe working at height. This step, which inevitably but temporarily hides the beautiful tower of Cottenham's Grade I listed building, is absolutely necessary in order to maintain the building for future generations to enjoy.

The work actually comprises three necessary projects that are being carried out simultaneously in order to take advantage of the costly scaffolding. The projects are anticipated to take two months, so the scaffolding will be in place until mid-July. Updates will be posted here as the projects progress.

So what is actually going on up the Tower?

a) On the night of Wednesday 17thJanuary 2018, a storm resulted in the concrete finial that holds the well-known weathervane and golden cockerel breaking off the SW pinnacle of the tower and falling to the ground. The badly-damaged cockerel has been assessed as beyond repair, and the finial needs to be replaced by a stone one. The weathervane can be straightened and re-painted. The lightning conductor was also damaged at the time.

A great deal of effort was put in by All Saints', the church architect and structural engineer to specify the work required and to allow the architect to go to tender and obtain estimates of the cost of the scaffolding and that of the pinnacle repair. After some detailed discussions with our insurer, it was agreed that the work required to restore the weathervane would be paid for under the terms of our insurance policy.

b)  At the last quinquennial inspection, carried out in 2014, several areas of concern were flagged as in need of repair. These include areas of brick and stone that need either replacement or repair, some gaps between buttresses and the tower that require filling and work around the clock faces necessary to prevent water intrusion.

c) The clock hands that face South recently have had to be disconnected from the working clock as the linkage mechanism has become corroded. We are discussing plans with an engineer to use the scaffolding to access that linkage and restore it to full working order. The West-facing clock hands will also be inspected and any problems investigated.

All Saints' appointed Brown & Ralph Ltd to carry out the work summarised under a) and b) above, and work on the tower from the scaffolding is beginning in earnest in May. Brown & Ralph successfully carried out the major reordering work inside the church, completed at Easter 2018.

It has been a long process for the church to get to this point where the project can start. The preliminary stages have included several grant applications and requests for loans, as well as the go-ahead following a bat survey. As of early May 2019, the following grants and loans have covered roughly 70% of the estimated cost of the work.

Ecclesiastical Insurance;

Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust - grant and interest-free loan;

Allchurches Trust - grant;

Jack Patston Charitable Trust - grant

Cottenham All Saints' Bellringers - gift

On-going fund-raising events being organised by Friends of All Saints Cottenham (find them on Facebook):

At least a further £30,000 is required in order that the project is fully-funded.

For more information, in the first instance please contact the churchwardens: wardens AT allsaintscottenham.org.uk


Shown are some pictures that tell the story of these projects.