Vital conservation work required to save city centre spire

At the church of St John on the Wall in Bristol, during routine monitoring, steeplejacks raised concerns that the high-level masonry of the medieval spire could be loose. Whilst investigating this, the Churches Conservation Trust took the precaution of contacting Bristol City Council and applying to cordon off the road and pavement on either side to ensure that we were not putting members of the public at risk.

As a result of further investigation, made possible through the use of a crane with a platform lift, by our appointed contractor, the CCT’s Conservation team now has an evidence-based and informed understanding of the problem concerning the top of the medieval spire, and at the same time, has been able to ensure that the structure is safe, and the exclusion zone removed.

The CCT has dealt with the emergency, and the church is no longer deemed a risk to public safety, therefore, alongside the crypt, this beautiful space can be re-opened to visitors and the network of committed volunteers.

We do however now understand the full repair requirements of the spire and deem it vital to undertake the works as soon as possible to avoid further deterioration and to minimise any future disruption to the vicinity. It is anticipated that the same method of access will be used so that the tower and spire do not require scaffolding, therefore reducing the impact on the surrounding area.

The Trust’s Board of Trustees has assigned funds from CCT’s unrestricted reserves, deriving from the generosity of legacy donors, to undertake the required conservation repair works, but a fundraising appeal has also been launched to help to replenish these vital reserves, which enable CCT to promptly tackle other emergency issues across the Trust’s estate of 356 churches as and when they arise.

If you would like to be involved in the fundraising campaign, to support this vital repair project and secure the future of St John’s on the Wall, Bristol, please consider making a donation here.

Photo credit: Sally Strachey, Historic Conservation