Today's the day!  (Wednesday, November 11).  After 5 long years the scaffolding is finally coming down from the turrets at the west end of the church.  For those of us on the west side of Cloudesley Square this is good news indeed!

Before turning to the appearance of the new, improved turrets themselves, here's what's been happening over the last month, illustrated as always by Danny's fine photos.

Work on the north aisle is well underway.  As with the south aisle, a temporary roof has been installed and the slates removed to reveal the rafters.  Once again this has revealed significant damage.  The damage to the wood is slightly less because the trees on this side are smaller and don't overhang the roof as much - note that the ends of the rafters where they meet the gutters are not rotted as much as they were on the south roof.  But the damage to stonework and brickwork is worse - probably because there is just more "weather" from the north.  Oddly, however, the pointing is in slightly better condition - perhaps it was carried out with better materials or skill.  The internal plaster beams are in a fairly sorry state, though.

North Aisle 1


Wood Damage 1


Brick and Stone damage 1


Beam Damage 1


Turning to the towers, here are some photos which Danny took at the top.  First, a view of the nave roof looking east.  This is in good condition - it was repaired in a major renovation project some years ago which, sadly, ran out of money! 

Nave Roof 1


Second, a photo of the original bell which is still there in the tower on the right.  Note that the interior walls of the tower are in quite a good condition, in contrast to the detailed stone carving on the outside which is badly weathered.

Bell in Right Tower


Jenny has unearthed the following amusing report about this bell from the Islington Gazette of 1857:

Islington Gazette 10 January 1857

Noisy “Ben” of Trinity

"Sir, I believe any subject connected with the Parish of Islington, finds a ready place in your columns, more particularly if the same is regarded by a number of parishioners as a positive nuisance, and one to be corrected. You must understand that there are two bells bearing the name of “Ben”, one is the fine toned “Big Ben of Westminster”, and the other, as above being a bell hung in the turret, of the Holy Trinity Church in Cloudesley Square, which is altogether un-musical and jarring to the ear as “Big Ben of Westminster" is pleasing. The nuisance is that the bell is tolled for half an hour on Sunday mornings, and the same length of time in the evenings, during which time any persons residing in the square, or immediate thereto, are compelled to shut all doors and windows to keep out as much as possible the horrible Dong! dong! dong! of this very noisy bell, which, by the way, is tolled by a very energetic person, who evidently prides himself in keeping pace with time, for I believe sometimes he “dongs” out 60 “dongs” in a minute. Should any person passing through the square at the time this bell is being tolled meet a friend, they cannot converse until they get a respectable distance away, or they could not hear themselves speak."


The turrets have been carefully wrapped in special (highly expensive!) stainless steel mesh which is then bolted either directly on to the stone or on to wooden battens running up the sides.  Sturdy blue tapes are then bound round the mesh for good measure.  The effect is undoubtedly far superior to the previous ugly plastic and will hopefully stabilise the turrets and protect passers-by from falling masonry until such time as funds are raised to carry out detailed restoration work on the external stonework.

Turret 1Middle of turret 1 

















And finally, here's the result.  This was the view from my bedroom window this morning with the sunlight glinting off the turrets.  What a difference!  I think they look great!  What does everyone else think (feel free to comment below)?

From Bedroom 1


Left Tower Scaffolding RemovalRight Tower in Sunlight
















Later Addition: And here's another photo, complete with rainbow, captured by Lawrence from No 9.

Rainbow Turret 1


#1 Nick Black 2020-11-17 16:55
Thanks for such a comprehensive, informative account of the restoration work. I agree, this is a really good second best for the turrets until such time...
Congratulations and thanks to all those he enabled this to be done.