Champagne at the top

02 November 2006

THEY CLIMBED 15 ladders to get there, so far as Tony Higgs, chapter steward of Gloucester Cathedral, can remember, “though there may have been two or three more”.

But it was worth it, with a glass of bubbly and a blessing to celebrate the “topping out” of the conservation work on the Eastern Tower of the south transept, and the placing of a cross on top of it.

The original damage is thought to have been caused by lightning, and it has cost £175,000 to repair, 40 per cent of which has come from English Heritage, and the rest from the cathedral trustees.

Most of those who celebrated were the stonemasons who had worked on the project, together with the Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd Nicholas Bury (front right), who gave the blessing; the architect, the consultant engineer, and Mr Higgs (hidden).

Although it has been the culmination of 12 months’ repair work on the south transept, the masons will continue working on the buttresses of the south aisle for the rest of the year.

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