Chapter House Gargoyles - Westminster Abbey, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.939 W 000° 07.606
30U E 699424 N 5709230
Quick Description: These gargoyles are on a building, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, known as the Chapter House. t is not necessary to enter the Abbey to view these gargoyles as they can be seen from the grassed area to the east of the Abbey complex.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 1:27:46 AM
Waymark Code: WMEGD9
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 8

Long Description:

These gargoyles look new and in first class condition. The reason for that is that they were carved and installed as recently as 2010 when major work took place on the Chapter House building.

The article, from the English Heritage website (visit link), gives details of the renovations:

"The future of one of London’s oldest buildings and a meeting place for the early House of Commons – the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey – has been secured following a major English Heritage - led repair and conservation project. Over the past 18 months, a team of 20 master carvers and stonemasons have painstakingly cleaned, repaired, and conserved the badly weathered gargoyles, stone floral friezes, flying buttresses and stained glass windows. This month, the colossal scaffolding has come down to reveal the majestic exterior completely refreshed, revived and weather-tight.

The future of one of London’s oldest buildings and a meeting place for the early House of Commons – the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey – has been secured following a major English Heritage - led repair and conservation project. Over the past 18 months, a team of 20 master carvers and stonemasons have painstakingly cleaned, repaired, and conserved the badly weathered gargoyles, stone floral friezes, flying buttresses and stained glass windows. This month, the colossal scaffolding has come down to reveal the majestic exterior completely refreshed, revived and weather-tight.

In keeping with both the Medieval tradition and the great Victorian reconstruction of the Chapter House in 1866 by architect George Gilbert Scott, today’s stone carvers have added 32 new heads to the building’s eight pinnacles, replacing those Victorian heads which had become unstable through erosion. There are 64 heads in total across eight pinnacles, and the new heads are portraits of the people involved in the ambitious project. They include the masons and architects, members of the Westminster Abbey clergy, and the project team from English Heritage. Four new striking gargoyles have also been created. The new carvings add a layer of 21st-century history to the Chapter House and are a testament to the outstanding quality of work of today’s carvers and craftsmen.

The significance of the Chapter House cannot be underestimated. Completed around 1255 and described as ‘beyond compare’, the octagonal chamber served not only as the daily meeting place for the monks of Westminster Abbey but as one of the venues for King Henry III’s Great Council and the Commons, predecessors of today’s Parliament. In the mid-16th century, the Chapter House became a store-house for the records of the Exchequer, eventually requiring massive alterations to create more floors for document cupboards, and to make the building stable: by the middle of the 19th century, its original form was unrecognisable. Between 1867 and 1872, Scott led the thorough restoration of the Chapter House, re-creating the medieval exterior and revealing the original tiled floors and wall paintings inside the building. It was opened to the public as a historic monument and today – given its royal past as a meeting place, parliament chamber and record office – the Chapter House is maintained by English Heritage on behalf of the Crown.

In the 140 years since Scott’s ‘makeover’, ivy, decades of smoke from Battersea Power Station, traffic pollution and the weather had all taken their toll on the building’s stone exterior. Nimbus Conservation was contracted by English Heritage to undertake the £3m programme of repairs. The Chicksgrove Quarry in Wiltshire has been their source for 60 tonnes of new stone – a type that most closely matches the Chilmark stone used by Scott’s masons and is remarkably resilient to weathering. Many hours have been spent in creating drawings and clay models. The majority of the stone was carved on site by Nimbus’ team of masons and master craftsmen.

The Chapter House is in the East Cloister of Westminster Abbey. Admission is free via the Cloister Entrance in Dean’s Yard. It is under the care and management of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.
"

Water spout is used: yes

Condition: Pristine

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