Clerk of Works' Blog: October 2015 | Salisbury Cathedral

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Clerk of Works' Blog: October 2015

Posted By : Gary Price Wednesday 4th November 2015

You may remember last month I mentioned I’d be able to tell you about auctioning Barons, well I hadn’t lost my marbles, there really was an auction to sell the Barons that had made up the Barons' Charter trail that led through the city through the summer and the combined total raised by ours and Lincoln’s was nearly a quarter of a million pounds for the Trussell Trust.


Having only seen them in isolation at their points along the trail it really was a grand sight to see them line our Broadwalk in the few days leading up to the auction all together and then gathered in the Cathedral for the event before all 25 found new homes, there’s a picture in the gallery if you didn’t see them ‘live’.


Also along our Broadwalk we have been renewing the plinth for our Walking Madonna statue and installing lights into a new circular stone base, this month’s header picture shows us lowering her and checking her alignment so she walks with visitors to the High Street Gate.


We’ve had a number of groups of visitors this month in the department, most in connection with the Masterplan consultation that, as you may be aware, includes developing our current works site and providing us with a heritage centre so we can expand into teaching, further our “have a go” courses and work more with our Education Department. If you would like to have a look at the plans and even have your say this link  will take you to the page with all the information and includes a further link for feedback.


One gentleman who came in on his own was Mr Roger Simpson, who is involved in a fascinating project that is seeing him build a working ¼ size miniature model of our world-famous clock  He is making the entire model by hand, even down to filing the cogs, using the same techniques used in the building of the original, so far he has been working on it for two years, a real labour of love – extraordinary!


A lovely job that we were involved in came to an end when we fixed the plaque on the Salisbury Airmen’s Memorial statue that is in Churchill Gardens, we were delighted to work with Mr Usher to bring his idea to fruition and full story along with pictures of the unveiling ceremony are here. We made the stone plaque that the metal dedication plaque is attached to and, as you’ll see in the gallery, attached them both to the cairn. 


I was very proud of our Head Mason, Lee Andrews, when he passed his Foundation Degree in Stonemasonry with a merit, if you are on Facebook this link will take you to a picture of him with his certificate. If you would like to add a congratulatory comment that would be very much appreciated. It was a great course that has done wonders for Lee in many ways, we all knew he would do well and, my word, did he prove us right. Lee will be graduating from the University of Gloucester in late November and I’ll let you know more about the ceremony next month.


More exciting news, too, when I was given the opportunity to go on a hot air balloon trip courtesy of my friend Gemma’s husband, Colin who works for Aerosaurus Balloons in Bristol. I worked with Gemma this and last year on the Heritage Festivals and they happened to have a spare space available on a trip and kindly offered it to me. It was amazing to see the city and Cathedral from such a height, I usually only get to see it from the tame 404 feet up at the top of the spire when I change the lightbulbs, which I had to do again this month and there are pictures in the gallery to show what I usually see and what I saw from the balloon.


Finally for this month we were sad to see our Chapter Clerk, Katie Sporle, go. There is a picture in the gallery of her last day and the memento we made for her with the inscription carved by Alan Spittle. She has been a great advocate for us and it was her idea to give existing staff a trial at new posts that became vacant, without which I may well not be Clerk of the Works, so whether you would congratulate her for that or shake an angry fist I will have to leave you to decide, but my team and I will think fondly of her.