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Head Mason's Diary: July 2015

MRA5 stone
Posted By : Lee Andrews Thursday 2nd July 2015

Wow those 3 months went fast! 

When I last looked it was April and since I last wrote there have been many projects, including the High Street Gate repair works and, our main focus, of the Major Repair Programme (MRP). MRA 3 (Major Repair Area) is coming to an end (see some completed works in the gallery) on the south side and the start of MRA 5, which is low level on the south side. We are into the final week of the target deadline for MRA3 to be completed and we are very much due to hit it with being in the final stages of the conservation and Purbeck polishing and then there are just the finishing touches to the glazing.

We had a topping out ceremony on the 23rd of June when Christian (our apprentice) and I placed the final stone in place. A number of sponsors came up and met the staff on the scaffold and could see up close all the hard work the team has been working on with their invaluable financial support.

The crossover of the next project (MRA5) is done. We have marked up all of the drawings and I have gone through them with the Architect. We are now pushing on with the mould cutting, stock piling moulds so they can be sawn ready for the working. We have found that just like with MRA 3 the stone is in a very bad way and there will be a lot of replacement, you can see some of that in the picture at the top of this diary.

Talking of the Architect we are welcoming a new Architect, Izaak Hudson, who is taking over from Michael Drury, who had been at the Cathedral for 22 years and will be signing off with MRA 3.

Also we have done unexpected repair work on the High St Gate where there was a lot of loose material; this was all removed and stones re-fixed with the inclusion of stainless steel dowels

Christian has finished his three years of college completing his level 2 and 3 NVQ, where he will now move on and start the CWF (Cathedral Workshop Fellowship) Degree course. On a personal matter I have completed my Foundation Degree course in Personal and Professional Development (Stonemasonry) and I should hopefully get my grade in the late July, with the Graduation in Gloucester Cathedral in November, as the course is run by Gloucester University.

So here is looking to a new era under the new Architect and completing the current project. With a huge well done to all staff for all their hard work so far, they have been amazing and a pleasure to work alongside, and pushing on to 2018 to the completion of the MRP.