By Jack Reed
The scaffolding on Durham Cathedral is scheduled to be taken down by the end of this year.
The top of the landmark has been under repair since the start of 2016 due to efforts to conserve the stone forming the tower.
The Cathedral is made out of golden sandstone, which is particularly vulnerable to erosion, and the tower had reached such a state of disrepair that a conservation project worth £800,000 was launched to fix the section of the Cathedral.
Work will be completed by late autumn 2018 and then the scaffolding will come down
Repair work was initially delayed as the scaffolding took around seven months to erect due to the location of the cathedral.
Nevertheless, the first phase of the repair work has recently been finished, which lowered around 200 stone blocks to ground level. The remaining work requires restoration to the inside and outside of the bell tower.
Maya Polenz, head of property at Durham Cathedral, stated: “We have just started phase two, which is the outside of the bell tower and we have just put up scaffolding on the inside, around the bell.
“We will be in the workshop all winter to produce the stonework, which will go up in the spring.
“Work will be completed by late autumn 2018 and then the scaffolding will come down.
“This time next year we hope to have the scaffolding down. It takes quite a bit of work, it’s quite a bit of engineering.”
Ms Polenz went on to explain the delayed nature of phase one: “We had to remove more stones in phase one than we had anticipated, but we had a contingency plan. That took a while.
“The architect has looked at the stability of the tower and it looks like it is in good shape.
“We don’t have to do as much in phase two and three as we thought.”
Photograph: Orangeaurochs via Flickr