St Paul’s Cathedral in the 1960’s – The dome lead work being replaced.

City News Company News

Past Steward John Carnaby has sent another fascinating article on St Paul’s Cathedral, this time on the repairs in the 1960’s, once again showing the close links of the Plumbers’ company to its original construction and refurbishment.  It includes a film news article from the London Metropolitan Archives, now on ‘YouTube’.  There are some wonderful old images of the City in this video and the narrative is ‘classic’ 1960s!

During the Second World War the area around St Paul’s was completely devastated due to bomb damage and various repairs to the Cathedral became necessary.  In 1965, the Surveyor of the Fabric of St Paul’s Cathedral, Mr Paul Paget, decided that due to severe war damage to the dome’s lead work caused by shell splinters and shrapnel, all the lead work needed to be replaced.  The dome lead work that was to be removed was originally laid around 1708 by Joseph Roberts, a Past Master of the Plumbers’ Company, who in 1710 became His Majesty’s Sergeant Plumber.

Norman and Underwood Ltd, one of the UK’s most established roofing, structural glazing and building conservation companies, was the contractor for this work. The company started its lead work business in 1825 and is based in Leicester.  The current Group Managing Director is former Liveryman Dr Jonathan Castleman. It was awarded the contract in the sum of £59,000-00 for stripping and relaying the new lead for the dome that was estimated to weigh around 111 tons.  In 1965, 150,000 feet of tubular scaffolding was erected around the St Paul’s dome for the contractor to commence their work that started in 1966.  All the work was completed by 1968 and the scaffolding was removed.

A newspaper cutting at the time mentions…. “The refurbishing and renovating of St Paul’s over the last eight years has cost over £300,000.  Sir Christopher Wren built it for £736,752 -2s-3d.”

Below is a link to an interesting YouTube video about St Paul’s, entitled “Looking at London,” amongst other things it shows the dome scaffolding and the plumbers removing and relaying the lead work: