Monday, 16 January 2012

St Nicolas' South Aisle

This is the extent to which the south aisle of St Nicolas’ (on the right) has moved away from the tower (on the left) made visible again last week when the recent failed repair was scrapped out by an investigating engineer. We don’t know how much of this movement is recent - he could detect at least two earlier in-fill repairs which might indicate that this is a very old and/or a very gradual shift, but he has placed lots of measuring points round the area to monitor whether there is any movement over the next few months. The outward angle of the south wall, and evidence of vertical cracking at the naturally weak point roughly level with the bottom of the windows (again, some of which show signs of earlier repair), are also indications of the shift which has been going on over some time.

Meanwhile his attempt to dig down to foundation level to see if there is anything going on there failed when it hit this concrete apron round the building (a twentieth century drainage channel - we can't work out why it continues underground here). He’d like to get a digger in to do more investigation if his monitoring does show continued recent movement. In these circumstances he would also like to investigate inside where the south aisle roof beams meet the main body of the church to make sure they haven’t been pulled out so far that they might cease to provide support. Our hope is that neither of these further investigations will prove necessary.

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