The Cathedral

Archaeology

Eastern Lady Chapel and North Choir Aisle floor renovation

During 2014 we completed some repairs and conservation work to the stone floors in both the Eastern Lady Chapel and North Choir Aisle. This will made the floors more even and stable, and prevented damage to the 19th century stone, which includes a number of memorial stones. The work was completed by by Minerva Stone and Kevin Blockley.

 Eastern Lady Chapel stones lifted

The first stage in our renovation work was to carefully remove some of the slabs from the floor of the Eastern. This has revealed the cement underneath, and allows us to start the process of resetting the stones. The black material you can see is a kind of cement, made from lime and coal ash. Coal ash works as a 'pozzolan', which means it reacts with lime to create a solid cement. This method was often used during the industrial revolution to create a cheap and strong mortar, which has lasted over a hundred years in our chapel. In the 19th century this coal ash was sold in great bulk by the Great Western Railway for this purpose, and it is quite likely that ours came from Temple Meads.

 Eastern Lady Chapel excavation and North Choir Aisle stone fitted

A missing slab in the North Choir Aisle has now been replaced. There had been a hole here for some time, as the previous stone was removed after it broke. All attepmts to fill the hole temporarily proved futile because the material would simply sink into it. What we now have is an attractive and permanent fix which will make the area much safer for wheelchairs, buggies and our own vergers!

The area in the Eastern has now been fully excavated and refilled, addressing the issues we were having with the floor becoming increasingly uneven. The fill underneath the floor was sinking, and after excavating we found this to have been caused in part by a brick-lined 19th Century burial vault under the floor. The area is now much more evenly and securely filled, and will ensure the floor above it remains even and secure itself.