Scaffolding the Stump – Boston business’ once-in-a-lifetime job

At work on the Boston Stump.
At work on the Boston Stump.

Anyone who has visited Boston in recent weeks will have done well not to notice the vast rig of scaffolding running up the side of the Stump.

It has given fresh cause to look at the 710-year-old building, Boston’s tallest, with admiration.

From the far side of the Haven.

From the far side of the Haven.

The scaffolding has been erected as part of multi-million pound restoration works, with more inside the church.

Designed by Creator Design Ltd, it was assembled by a team from the Boston-based SLS Ltd over the space of 15 weeks.

They are: James Brown, 34, Medforth Lane, Simon Wilkinson, 36, of Norfolk Street, Daniel Jellis, 34, Elmwood Avenue, David Forinton, 39, of Freiston Road, Mark Diamond, 30, of St Mary’s Way, Old Leake, Craig Dobinson, 32, of Boston, Mikey Luckham, 23, of Tattershall Road, Will Robinson, 24, of Skirbeck Gardens, and Liam Powell 19, of Hillcrest Gardens, Swineshead.

“We have always wanted to do this job,” said James, contract manager for the business. “When we got the opportunity, we jumped at it. Obviously, it’s a once in a lifetime thing.”

At work, inside the church.

At work, inside the church.

The exterior of the scaffolding comprises 37 levels, with 12 more inside the lantern to reach the top of the 272ft building where the wooden platform is to be replaced as part of the works.

In total, the team used about 3,000 scaffolding boards, wearing special harnesses to protect them from falls during the job.

Perhaps surprisingly, the challenge of working at such heights did not always make itself obvious, James said.

“Because you are building it gradually, you start to get used to it,” he said. “We are only going up two metres each day. When you are just doing a little bit each day you don’t notice it as much.”

Not a bad view for your workplace.

Not a bad view for your workplace.

Probably the biggest challenge the team faced was reaching the top of the lantern when the belfry roof would not take the weight of the scaffolding that would be required.

Their solution was to build a second section of scaffolding on the opposite side of the church to the main block using the viewing platform – a stronger part of the church. They then connected the two by going through the church, creating a bridge that allowed them to progress higher.

Despite the scale of the build, it is not the business’ highest undertaking.

Work at St Wulfram’s Church, in Grantham, in 2014 saw team members create scaffolding to a height of 280ft – 8ft higher than the Stump (thanks to its 100ft spire).

Inside the top of the church.

Inside the top of the church.

James spoke proudly of this latest project.

“It’s a great thing to look at,” he said. “Tower Street is the best place to go.”

For more on SLS Ltd, visit SLSLimited.com or call 01205 363366.