Wednesday was a memory maker for someone who enjoys the beauty of old buildings. From the office window for the past few weeks we have been watching a meccano set slowly increase in size and fill out with scaffolding poles and wooden boards. Each plank of wood being passed from level to level, each scaffolding pole being handed up grip after grip. Gradually this work of art started to take shape and for me, standing at the office window, I was in absolute awe of this marvellous piece of engineering.
So, when someone says "Chel, remember you said you wanted to go on the scaffolding? Do you still want to go?", you can imagine my response. A little preparation for the morning was required, sensible footwear and of course, not a flowing skirt! Oh, and remember to go to the loo before you go up!
Myself and a colleague were going up with the contractor, so hard hat and high vis jacket were the order of the day, and then our wonderful historical journey began. At the beginning, just seeing how the scaffolding poles and planks were pieced together was enough for me to be happy to be here.
There were no ladders here, instead a few steps up and then a platform. Each platform giving such historical eye candy. To see and touch this Cathedral at a point where no one from the ground could touch it was such a privilege. This is as close as you can be to the magnificent windows, the leaded lights and the original glass with its waves. Looking through to the other side of the entrance of the Cathedral and with the orange glow at the bottom of the shop. Incredibly happy.
From our office the windows look big, but when you are this close, and looking down, the sheer magnitude was absolutely breathtaking.
The years of pollution and the Whittlesey Brick Factory from times gone by are still visible on parts of the stone work and delicate diamonds of glass. But, in amongst this beautiful stone, the new work from the stone masons has begun to preserve the majesty and beauty of this building for the next few hundred years.
At the top of each staircase we could walk around the platforms and drink in the views. Here we have the Cathedral looking east towards Whittlesey. Below, the quiet and serene cloisters and then the roofs of the precinct buildings.
Looking west, Peterborough started to open up with the Town Hall in the centre of the photo.
But I just couldn't help myself with looking at the architecture so close up. Touching stonework that probably hadn't been touched for so many years. I got so excited when I saw one of the rain outlets close up. Can you imagine how many tonnes of water this simple outlet has expelled over the years.
Already there has been so much work that the stone masons have dealt with. The Cathedral so lovingly being cared for. Here you can see the new stone being placed next to the old.
Some of the stone work has artwork formed on it from the pollution, but to me this was a thing of beauty, showing that the Cathedral can survive whatever is thrown at it.
We were a bit further up and the view from the platform was even better. The Palace and offices, which you saw from the ground in my Peterborough Heritage Weekend post, could now be seen from the air.
Behind me was the window that I love to see but haven't since the scaffolding has been up. I have missed it, but imagine my heart skipping that we were right next to it.
Here it was at the end of last year.
Did you notice the missing piece of filigree at the bottom right of the window? Here is is close up.
Unbelievable that I could be close enough to touch it (I didn't though - it's too precious).
We were nearly at the top, and what was so totally breathtaking (apart from the views) was the attention to detail at this height. You would think that when this was being built over the centuries (the Cathedral is almost 900 years old), that the higher they were working the less they would deal with the detail, but they certainly were devoted to the finer details to this beautiful building.
The turrets and little hidden slated roofs started to appear. I could have quite happily put a picnic blanket on the planks, kicked off my shoes and given a huge happy sigh at this point. There are times when you are in a place that you don't want to leave. This was it.
A cracked tile, so perfect. And look how thick the slate was back then! My colleague walked past this roof first and then looked back, she knew my camera lens would be focussed on this!
Walking around this level was a wonderland and I can't put into words how lucky I felt.
The last level and we were just walking around in sheer wonder. In amongst the spires of the Cathedral, close and respectful.
Are you ready for the views of Peterborough?
The church to the right of the shot is St John the Baptist which is in the centre of Cathedral Square. In front you can see the Norman Arch which is the arch you walk through from the Square to enter the precincts of the Cathedral. To the right of this is Becketts Chapel and to the left is the Knights Chamber (with the turrets).
Here again in a little more detail. You can see St John the Baptist, and the little building in front is the Guild Hall. The wetness on the ground in front are the two triangles of fountains in Cathedral Square. The brown tinge of wall upon wall is the Queensgate Shopping Centre. To the bottom of the shot is the Norman Arch again with the Bishop's Prison to the left (no longer in use) and the turreted room above the arch is where King Charles I had his last night before being taken to be executed.
Looking up we felt so incredibly lucky.
But we still had to keep an eye on the planks due to them protecting some of the protruding architecture!
But, we had to return to ground level. Thankfully I just put my arm over the scaffolding and took the photo without actually looking!!
We were also thankful that we didn't climb down the rope too!
After our thanks to the contractor and all gates locked and secured once more, we went inside the Cathedral to see the part we had climbed.
Only part of it could be seen here, so another little trip is going to planned with a Verger as we are now on a quest to see our favourite round window from the inside.
So, what did I do at work this week? I climbed a Cathedral!
Have you done anything unusual this week?
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