The historic buildings on the Royal Pavilion Estate are checked on a regular basis. The finial to William IV Gate was found to be moving out of the vertical by 75mm. This meant that high winds could cause failure and damage to the structure as well as injury.
The aim of the repairs was to give support to the finial, replacing the stone ball supporting the finial and making good the copper cladding and lead flashing.
Finial Base before Repairs
The finial consists of eight different stone sections. It has lead flashing and copper cladding. Before the repairs, the stone base of the finial was badly eroded.
Sequence of Events for Repairs
The repairs were to be carried out with little disturbance to the structure, to save as much of the stone finial as safely possible, and to preserve as much of the existing fabric.
The sequence of events were as follows:
- Install scaffolding
- Survey finial and record
- Investigate how the finial was supported
- Cut finial at each stone section
- Open up Copper dome and open timber frame
- Agree method of repair
- Replace supporting rod
Removal of the Stone Finial
The finial consisted of wrought iron rod and hard wood boss holding timber formers. Each of the eight sections were removed. The wrought iron was drilled out with a diamond core drill. The copper cladding sections were removed to allow for investigation into the void.
Copper Dome Opened
The copper dome was opened and a section of timber formers was removed. The old rod was dismantled and removed and a new iron plate was installed to take the new stainless steel rod.
Installing New Finial
The new rod is made of stainless steel. This consisted of three sections which are screwed together. Also added was a stainless steel girdle and a new timber boss.
Dome receives Stone Finial
The girdle was screwed into place. The new timber boss was screwed onto existing timber formers. These were held tightly to reduce movement. The copper cladding was nailed to the boss and a lead cap fitted to stop water ingress. The first section of the stone finial was then installed.
The Repaired Finial
All of the eight sections were replaced and grouted. The lightning conductor was refitted. The finial still sways to allow give in high winds.
This text was originally published on the Royal Pavilion and Museums’ main website. It has been republished here in order to reach a wider audience.