Island Life Magazine Ltd December 2008/January 2009 - Page 59

FEATURE we realised the whole infill needed to be replaced. You have to juggle what limited funds are available with the needs of the rest of the building, but it was felt by everyone involved including English Heritage that it would be apt, as a celebratory measure of the new minster status, to have the new carving and date of restoration.” The rate of deterioration of the building is perhaps surprising, given that it is not particularly old. But the nature of the stone – limestone from Caen, in Normandy – and the “vaguely coastal” nature of the Island – has contributed to its weathering. “As well as the wind, which never seems to stop,” says Simon. “We’ve cleaned it, re-pointed the open joints, and changed a few stones that were in poor condition, as well as the carved ring around the two clock faces.” Restoring old buildings creates problems which aren’t apparent when working with less fragile structures. To avoid putting stress on the roofs or walls, a ladder beam made of two scaffold towers either side of the church had to be built, across which a beam was placed. Another problem was less architectural, more health and safety: “We had to be careful each Tuesday because of the farmer’s market,” recalls Simon. “There’s always the odd obstacle in these projects.” life Photo left: Clock has just been placed back into the opening after 1 hour of drilling out the centre core. Above: The team who have been working on the church. Bottom: The clock face being hoisted to the top of the tower. The Island's new funky radio station www.wightfm.com 59