Bowyer Tower conservation update

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Project update May 2013, Weeks 1-12

Now hidden behind scaffold, the Bowyer Tower and adjacent Inner Curtain Wall are being conserved. Brushing down, cleaning and identification of eroded stone is underway.

The walls have been brushed down to remove any dirt and loose stone before being cleaned with water. A consultant geologist, part of the archaeological recording brief, is now surveying the walls, identifying the different stone types. Our consultant architect has begun marking up stones to be replaced and confirming any areas of any mortar that requires removal.

Suplhation and dirt build up on the tower walls

Suplhation and dirt build up on the Bowyer Tower walls

Grotesques and Gargoyles
This is the only tower adorned with grotesques and gargoyles, and we are taking extra care when cleaning them. The grotesques are decorative and the gargoyles enclose rainwater outlets.

A gargoyle eating a bone

A gargoyle eating a bone

Main Roof
The existing lead roof covering is suffering from underside lead corrosion, which has led to some water entering the structure below. Replacing the lead roof cladding provides us with an opportunity to inspect the roof structure and repair as required.

Damage at high level due to water ingress

First floor – damage at high level due to water ingress

Turret Roof
The Bowyer Tower roof was constructed as a concrete slab supported on steel beams and covered with asphalt. The beams had corroded, causing movement to the surrounding walls, and the asphalt had started to fail allowing water ingress to the areas below. The concrete roof has been removed and the steel structure will now be replaced with a timber roof structure clad in lead.

Turret roof with concrete and steel removed

Turret roof with concrete and steel removed

Gun Ports
Five gun ports face The City in the stretch of curtain wall next to the Bowyer Tower. As well as cleaning and repair of the stone openings, we are redesigning (recessing) the mesh covers to return their presentation closer to their original appearance.

Opened and Cleaned Gun Port

Opened and Cleaned Gun Port

The project work is ongoing and is due to be completed in November 2013. As we are at such an interesting stage of the conservation work, we are opening this conservation site to members next week! Don’t miss your chance to wear a hard hat and high-vis as you engage with King Henry III’s defence and explore the conservation work of our experts through a guided scaffold tour. Find out more on our events pages.

If you are interested in the conservation work which takes place at our palaces and want to know more, visit the conservation 100th anniversary blog, for more news and stories  from our team of 38 specialist conservators.

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