Latest News from the Wellington Monument project
Update from the National Trust.
The project is still on track to finish at the end of May. This is incredible considering what difficult times we are going through.
We’re planning how to open the monument when the project finishes and restrictions are lifted. Anyone who has been inside knows the top viewing platform will safely fit only two people so we need to plan carefully. We’ve loved hearing the hilarious stories that you have told us from the days when dozens would climb up at a time. Those were the days of candles in jars and getting the key from the local farm!
A lot has happened since our last update:
The scaffold to the obelisk is now down and our contractors are concentrating on repairs to the curtain wall around the base of the monument. As with the rest of the monument, the replacement stone is Chicksgrove limestone.They are replacing a total of 250 of the limestone facing stones estimated to weigh approximately 80 tonnes. The team will then be re-grouting, re-pointing and using mechanical ties to improve structural integrity. The curtain wall is 6m high with a 1m cornice on top. It was one of the last areas to originally be built and the quality suffered as they ran out of funds during the nineteenth century.
We are replacing stones on the cornice at the top of the curtain wall. There are 13 replacements to this course, with the largest being 600kg prior to cutting and shaping. These replacements will be made from a Bath stone named Park Lane.
Work continues to complete the repairs inside the spiral staircase so that people can once again climb to the top. This consists of 5 replacement treads and 30 newel replacements. We will be pinning the cracks and stainless supports to 6 upper treads. The stone is Ham Hill stone.
The window guards at the top have now been replaced to prevent birds from getting in and nesting inside the pyramidion. We are awaiting the arrival of a new door for the bottom of the staircase of the main tower to stop them getting in that way too. This will be an oak door with steel lattice panels. Nesting birds cause a range of health and safety issues, so better for all concerned for them to nest in woodland at the site.
Replacement capping stones will be fitted to the top of all 3 buttress heads to prevent water ingress to the stonework below.
The entrance step needs replacing. It is a grey Pennant sandstone from the Forest of Dean, approximately 1.2m long x 0.6m wide. It will be placed at the doorway in the next few weeks.
We have been overwhelmed with the incredible feelings people have for the monument. Therefore, “Memories in the monument” is our new fundraiser that enables people to put their story or message into the monument. In return for a donation of your choice, we will place your letter or memory or maybe a list of loved ones behind the stone. You will never see it, but you will know it is there. Details can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wellington-monument/features/memories-in-the-monument .
Funds have also come from the Wellington Monument volunteers who have raised a whopping £4,000 collecting donations for unusable stone that has been removed from the monument. This fundraiser has been put on hold due to current restrictions, but don’t panic, there will be more available!