Rare views from the steeple at Nairn Courthouse
The ongoing refurbishment works of Nairn Courthouse steeple have afforded the opportunity to examine the historic steeple close-up and to take in the expansive views over Nairnshire.
Chair of the Nairnshire Committee Cllr Tom Heggie visited the works with Highland Council Project Manager Laura Burns and LTM Site Manager Raymond Cameron.
The £809,000 project at the Category B listed Court House involves the renovation of the steeple built in 1860, as well as internal and external works to the building which dates back to 1818 on the site of the old toll booth.
Prior to 1860 the steeple was made of stone but was replaced with wood and iron. The steeple houses the cast iron bell (dated 1848).
The top part of the steeple, weighing 6 tonnes, from the level above the clock windows, will be lifted off by a crane on Sunday 30 June to enable renovations to the wooden structure. The wood will be replaced using Douglas Fir.
Cllr Heggie took the steps to the top of the scaffolding to hear first-hand about the ongoing work, viewing the clock windows, the bell and the gargoyles. He said: “This demonstrates a significant investment by the Council in an iconic building in the heart on Nairn town centre. I am confident that Laing Traditional Masonry will do an excellent job here, having demonstrated their high quality of craftsmanship at Inverness Town House.”
He added: “It was a privilege to see the stunning views over Nairnshire from the top of the steeple.”
View of Nairn from the court house steeple
The Service Point and the Council offices will remain operational throughout the 48 week programme.
The contract for refurbishment works was awarded by The Highland Council to Laing Traditional Masonry Group (LTM Group).
The works is being project-managed by the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Service. The project has been progressed with assistance from LDN Architects, Fairhurst Engineers, McLeod & Aitken and Safehands Health & Safety Consultants Ltd.
There are 14 stages involved in Phase 1 of the project which covers the removal and renovation of the viewing tower, these are also highlighted in the panels currently on display at Nairn Service Point:
- Stage 1 – Lintel Replacement – February 2019
- Stage 2 – Structural Wall Remedial Works – February to March 2019
- Stage 3 – Scaffold Erection up to level 5 with temporary protection – March to April 2019
- Stage 4 – Structural remedial works to vault at Level 1 – April 2019
- Stage 5 – Parapet Strengthening – April to May 2019
- Stage 6 – Scaffold Erection up to Level 9 – May 2019
- Stage 7 – Replacement of Secondary Timbers at Level 3 – April to May 2019
- Stage 8 – Removal of Lead Clad Spire – June 2019
- Stage 9 – Install Temporary Roof – June to July 2019
- Stage 10 – Removal and Replacement of Viewing Tower Platform Structure –April to September 2019
- Stage 11 – Remove Temp. Roof, Dismantle Scaffold & Reinstall Spire – June to July 2019
- Stage 12 – Dismantle Scaffold to Level 5 & Install Temp Shelter – July 2019
- Stage 13 – Replace Lead to Parapet Gutter – July to August 2019
- Stage 14 – Dismantle Scaffold to below Parapet Level – August to September 2019
Some of these stages have been progressed ahead of schedule, as resources have permitted.
Phase 2 works which consists mainly of repairs to Window Repairs & External Doors and general masonry repairs will take place once Stage 1 works are complete – currently programmed to commence in August 2019 and complete early 2020