What a view - but would you dare? Experts remove weather vane from Cathedral spire
PUBLISHED: 19:23 24 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:58 25 August 2020
Restoration work has begun on a historic part of Norwich’s skyline after the cathedral’s weathercock was brought down for the first time in nearly six decades.
The gold cockerel weather vane will be regilded as part of maintenance work to the 900 year old building, having stood at the very top of it since 1756 - but could be older than first thought.
The father and son team of Chris and Sam Milford, from historic building conversation specialists WallWalkers, made the 315ft climb to the top of the spire.
Mr Milford senior, 72, and his son were joined by Marco Briaschi and Joe Day and took around three hours to bring the weathercock back to the ground.
More: Restoration work begins on Norwich Cathedral spire for first time in decades
Over the next few days the team will restore the piece before overlaying around 300 sheets of gold leaves before returning it to the top of the spire.
The weather vane stands at 83cm, or 2ft 9inches, and is believed to date back to when the top part of the cathedral was rebuilt by John Parsons.
Studies are being carried out to examine if the weathercock is older than 1756 after discovering a stamp marked 1668 and if it contains coins left by previous restorers.
Chris Milford said: “It’s in good physical condition, it’s not breaking, not rusting, there is one little screw that is rusting.”
The team were also able to clear up another long standing rumour, in regards to the weathercock’s size.
Sam Milford said: “It is a lot smaller than people thought. People thought it was the size of a small donkey.”
The current spire is the third built in the Cathedral’s 900 year history after previous spires were destroyed by storms and fire caused by lightning.
The last major restoration of the stone spire was in the early 1960s and the project was overseen by architect Bernard Feilden.
Pictures from this paper show the last restoration work on the spire dating back to 1963.
The Reverend Dr Peter Doll, Canon librarian and Vice-Dean at the cathedral said the work will allow it to shine more brightly for future generations.
He said; “The Cathedral’s towering spire and the golden weathercock that sits on top is such an iconic sight in our fine city. The restoration work currently taking place will help ensure this historic landmark remains part of Norwich’s skyline for generations to come.”
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