Renovation and Heritage Sharing Project

This page provides information on the ongoing Cranmore Tower Renovation and Heritage Sharing Project, it’s aims and current status.

Repair & Renovation

The Tower is a 45 m high square stone structure with walls that are 4ft thick at the base tapering to 2ft at the top. It’s made of local Mendip stone with dressed limestone quoins and a mix of flush and raised ribbon pointing to all facades. Much of the external pointing was redone during the Towers renovation in the 1980’s using hard cement mortar.

The use externally of hard cement pointing (which is now failing) has allowed water to penetrate but not escape, resulting in water percolation down through the structure and internally. A key aspect of the renovation work scope is to remove failed cement pointing and replace with breathable traditional lime mortar as per the original construction.

The first phase of the project kicked off in September 2015 and will continue in May 2016 with Western Steeplejacks awarded a contract for re-pointing work on the South facing facade of the Tower. The re-pointing work uses a lime mortar mix. Lime is mixed with crushed Mendip limestone from a local quarry, red stand is added to the darken the mix to try match existing pointing. Here are some pictures of the work:

Sept Oct 2015 105

Stonework with hard cement pointing raked out.

 

Sept Oct 2015 107

Stone work re-pointed with breathable lime mortar

Sept Oct 2015 123

Removing parts of the failed hard cement pointing from the Tower’s South face

Sept Oct 2015 142

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In addition to the re-pointing work the renovation part of the project will focus on making the roof water tight, repair and re-configuration of the joinery at the top view gallery, refurbishment of the metal railings on the viewing balconies and other works.

The Tower is a Grade II Listed building and advice and support is being provided by a Mendip conservation officer. A survey report was perpared by a Chartered Building Surveyor with a RICS Diploma in Building Conservation and membership to the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

Heritage Sharing

The project is also focusing on the heritage of the Tower and the local area by researching and generating a number of interpretation boards for display in the Tower. The idea for these boards is to display the Tower’s history and also share information from previous heritage projects in the local area, in particular ‘Quarry Faces’ community project and Mendip Community Historic Landscape survey for Downhead.

Old Tower Pic With Veranda

Background work will be performed to generate the interpretation boards, including research on the history of the Tower. Some details of the Tower’s history are well known but there are periods in between documented history dates where little is known. We will try to fill in the gaps by searching records at Bristol University Library (where there is a special collection on the Pagets), Taunton records office and by talking to local residents with memories of the Tower.

The project will then design and generate interpretation boards for the Tower (bottom entrance area and viewing balconies) to share the History of the Tower, information about other heritage sights that are visible from the top (namely Glastonbury Torr, King Alfred’s Tower, the White horse etc.) and information and history of local area and industries. One display will focus on the local quarries (in particular Merehead quarry), reusing information from a previous community project “Quarry Faces”.

We would love to know what aspects of the Tower or local area you would like to know about and see displayed at the Tower. If you have any views, advice, or if you have any old memories or photographs of the Tower please get in touch at info@cranmoretower.co.uk or 01749 880 742.

If you have time please complete our very short questionnaire – Cranmore Tower – Renovation & heritage sharing project questionnaire.

Current Status

The first phase of the project has commenced with Western Steeplejacks performing re-pointing work on the southern facade of the Tower. This work should be complete by the end of Q2 2016. The south face gets hit with the worst weather and was logical face to start with. The project is now seeking funding for financing of the remaining work scope.

The last project at Cranmore Tower was in 2007 when internal staircase was renovated, see here for details on that previous project.