In 2020 we were approached by the Rector & Churchwardens of St. John’s to lead the repair process for works to the tower and clock. The building dates from 1838 and, although the clock was installed in 1915 by E. W. Bachmann & Co., making it one of the youngest church clocks in Guernsey, it is also one of the most original according to local clock maker Ian Lihou, being driven by falling weights. The tower itself is square in plan and topped with 4 decorative finials on each corner. Set behind the parapet wall is a lead flat roof which had been leaking for many years. The dense granite masonry of the tower had been pointed with cement, resulting in long term damage of the tower’s structural timbers within the upper floors, as well as the decorative internal finishes within the porch. The project set out to renew the lead flat roof, re-point the tower with lime mortar, repair decayed timber components and conserve the clock face, alongside associated works such as a new lightning conductor, and works to upgrade services and the fire alarm system. Some internal re-plastering and decoration of the porch was also carried out.
The project was due to commence in early 2020 and the COVID pandemic, and all lockdowns and periods of restricted working, caused significant delays. Part way through the project, in August of 2020, a dry rot attack was found under the organ and works on the tower halted to ensure the available funds were spent on the repair of this urgent work.
St. John’s was constructed in 1838 as a church to serve the poor Parishioners of St. John. As the church receives no money from Parish rates, all of the costs toward this project had to be fund-raised and provided by the Trustees and Congregation. A huge fundraising effort by the Church and local community managed to raise sufficient funds for the work, both to attend to the dry rot and complete the works to the clock and tower.
Thanks to Ian Lihou, Fusion Fabrications, Smith Signs, C. A. Duquemin, DLA Consulting Engineers, Timber & Damp-Proofing Specialists.