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Good woody visit - Salisbury

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AndyT

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Back in this thread Benchwayze John linked to an article about visiting the tower at Salisbury Cathedral. My wife and I visited there this weekend, and I'd like to recommend the "Tower Tour" to anyone interested in woodwork and building construction on an amazing scale.

You get to climb up inside the walls, into the roof. This view is above the nave. It shows the top surface of the stone vault, which is made of tufa covered over with lime render. The oak roof above holds sarking boards which support the exterior lead.



and this is the structure looking up:



There's nothing like getting up close to this work to appreciate the skill and bravery of the medieval carpenters.

The tour continues up into the tower, which was added after the main cathedral was finished. This view shows the interior of the tower, not visible from inside the cathedral. Successive generations have added to the diagonal bracing. The oak spiral staircase dates to 1939 and replaces one inside the corner of the tower which has been blocked up.



On the next floor, this structure holds the bells which strike the hours:



Above that, you get to see up into the spire itself, and that's as far up as the public are allowed. This view shows the amazing timbering inside the spire. It provided the scaffolding so that it could be built, but is also a permanent structural element, holding the spire together as a reinforcing spine. How did all the building materials get hauled up so high? This is the original man-powered winch. (I don't think they had hamsters back then.)



You also get to climb out at the top of the tower, which gives you a great view and reminds you just how much further up the spire stretches.




All in all, a fascinating tour, well worth an hour and a half of your time.
 

woodbloke

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Going to have to put that one on my 'to do' list. As usual, when you live in a place, this sort of stuff gets a fairly low priority. I also have Wilton house about half a mile away and haven't been round that yet :( - Rob
 

AndyT

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Don't worry Rob - you'll have plenty of time when you retire!!
 

Woodchips2

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Thanks Andy, it makes you realise how skilful the old craftsmen were. I've been on the roof tour but not up the tower because they were working on it at the time. That oak spiral staircase looks not for those who suffer from vertigo :roll: ! Must do this tour the next time we are in Salisbury.
Regards Keith
 

Harbo

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I did the roof tour and a visit to the Stonemason's shop a few years ago.
It was part of a technical visit and whilst the scaffolding was in place. We were allowed to go up further up to a small hatch in the spire - the view is a
amazing!
The thought that the vault roof is only inches thick is quite scary when you are walking on it.

Rod
 
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