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Work to repair historic chapel sees steeplejacks scale its tall tower

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Work to repair a historic Lynn chapel and preserve it for years to come has seen trained professionals scale the heights of its tower.Over the past month or so, The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) has undertaken essential repairs to St Nicholas’ Chapel’s tower.West Norfolk-based aerial photographer and videographer the drone people captured the work that steeplejacks – whose job it is to climb high buildings in order to repair, paint and clean them – were doing in mid-March.

A steeplejack carrying out repairs to St Nicholas’ Chapel in King’s Lynn. Pictures: the drone people

Graham Cooke, who started the drone people four years ago, said: “I really enjoyed filming them as much as they enjoyed being filmed and the footage has gone down very well!”A spokesperson for the CCT, which owns the chapel, said natural weathering had eroded open joints which left the high-level masonry needing localised reporting to prevent water penetration and weakening. “The timber louvres in the tower’s openings also required urgent repairs due to decay and damage caused by extreme weather conditions.“The repaired louvres will protect the bells and bell frame from the worst of the weather and the installation of internal gale breakers will also ensure that any residual direct rain does not compromise important elements of the bells’ installation, such as the wheels.”A combination of cherry picker, scaffold and skilled steeplejacks also allowed for a “detailed inspection of the beautiful and distinctive leadwork covering of the octagonal spire”, they added.Repairs were also carried out to individual lead sheets, rolls and fixings – with the scaffolding having since been removed.

The repairs to the louvres will protect the bells and bell frame

“We are very grateful to the Friends of St Nicholas who have contributed towards the costs of those urgent works,” the spokesperson said.Meanwhile, the workmen said: “We replaced some lead sheets that had come loose and gave the steeple some general maintenance. We’ve replaced missing fixings and tried to eliminate any leaks that we could find. “We also gave the steeple a good look over while we were there. We were working for B.C.S. Ltd.”St Nicholas’ Chapel was founded in 1146 as a chapel of ease to the Church of St Margaret – with it being rebuilt a number of times since then, including in around 1200, between 1371 and 1419, and in 1869 by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

The Friends of St Nicholas contributed towards the cost of the works

The decision was made in 1989 to declare the St Nicholas’ Chapel redundant – it came into the care of the CCT in 1992. St Nicholas’ Chapel was reopened in 2015 after a £2.7m regeneration lasting 18 months thanks to a partnership between the CCT, the Friends of St Nicholas’ Chapel and the Heritage Lottery Fund.The CCT, a national charity saving historic churches at risk, aims to protect more than 350 church buildings which attract almost 2 million visitors a year.

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