National Trust building surveyor Ken Evans has been given a tall order – save the Wellington Monument. Ken was one of the NT staff on duty when the landmark was open to the public on Sunday, for the first time in almost 10 years.
Several hundred visitors braved the drizzle and queued for up to an hour to climb the 233 steps to the top of the tallest three-sided obelisk in Britain, at 174ft above sea level. On a clearer day it’s possible to see both the Bristol Channel and the English Channel from the viewing platform.
“It’s great to see so much public interest,”said Ken. “I’m passionate about saving the monument but there’s no doubt it’s crumbling away.” The problem is that rain and frost have got behind the facing stones and begun to separate them from the core.
He’s leading a project to come up with a range of technical options that could stabilise the Monument and give another lease of life. “Option One is clearly to rebuild from the ground up, but there are likely to be others which could be less costly,” he explained.
The Trust says it’s too early to come up with cost estimates for the restoration of the landmark but they are making firm plans to link an appeal for funds with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015.
One thing Ken Evan does need urgently is the services of a volunteer surveyor or architect with the time to integrate the new three-dimensional laser scans of the Monument’s stonework with the mass of building records showing what repairs have been done and when. If you can help, contact the Trust’s regional HQ at firstname.lastname@example.org