Repairmen on a wing and a prayer to fix St Jude's
PUBLISHED: 14:41 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 September 2010
WORKMEN have been reaching towards the heavens to repair a damaged church spire in Hampstead Garden Suburb. A telescopic crane has been called in to fix the roof of St Jude s after a six-foot lead panel was blown off during high winds
WORKMEN have been reaching towards the heavens to repair a damaged church spire in Hampstead Garden Suburb.
A telescopic crane has been called in to fix the roof of St Jude's after a six-foot lead panel was blown off during high winds.
The panel came loose from the spire and crashed into the roof of the church before landing in the car park below, leaving a deep dent in the tarmac. The extendable crane was put up beside the 54metre spire on Monday after contractors' efforts last week were hampered because of high winds.
"The panel came off on March 3 in high winds. First tiles came down and then the panel," said Iris Elkington, church warden for the past 10 years.
"The crane came last Monday and repaired the tiling damage but had to withdraw due to unfavourable weather. On Monday, after the snow, they came back and finished off the job."
The damage caused by the falling panel cost Ecclesiastical Insurance around £8,000 for replacement tiles and the use of the crane.
Ray Soole, a chartered insurer for the company, said St Jude's has one of the highest spires in London. "It was subject to some quite severe storm damage last month," he said.
John Wheeler, 72, who lives next to the Grade I-listed church in South Square, said: "It's the first time in 90 years that something's happened to the spire.
"It bashed a hole in the roof. The lead panel was as heavy as a bag of cement, about 35kg.
"The insurance company think that the wind is funnelled up the roads that lead up the hill and culminates at the church."
Designed by Edwin Lutyens, St Jude's was completed in 1935 and earned the honour of being "one of the best 20th century church exteriors in England", according to critic Simon Jenkins.
Other experts hailed its "Byzantine, majestic, imperious" spire, and Evelyn Waugh was confirmed there in 1921.