The Monument

This project was awarded Highly Commended in the Craftsmanship category at the Natural Stone Awards 2010.

The official guide said, 'The Monument, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Dr Robert Hooke and built between 1671 and 1677, commemorated the rebuilding of the City of London after the Great Fire of London. It is one of the tallest isolated stone columns in the world, standing 202ft (61.5m) tall - the distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire began.

The fluted Doric column is made of Portland limestone that was cleaned and repaired with matching stone. There are 311 Pooil Vaaish limestone stairs leading to a viewing platform also of Pooil Vaaish. Every step required insert repairs. A Purbeck limestone entrance floor has been replaced.

Now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building, The Monument consists of a pedestal 21ft (6.4m) square by 40ft (12m) high, with a fluted shaft of 120ft (36.5m) high by 15ft (4.5m) in diameter. One the abacus the viewing platform encompasses a moulded cylinder, or drum, that supports the focal point of the column, a flaming golden orb.

An emblematic sculpture in alto and bas relief by Danish sculpture Caius Gabriel Cibber on the west side of the pedestal has been cleaned and restored. The other three sides of the pedestal are lettered with Latin text. These were also cleaned and repaired.

On each corner of the top of the pedestal sit dragons, the work of Edward Pierce Junior. These were cleaned and repaired, with several missing stone pieces being modelled and carved on site. The underside of the platform had originally been decorated with four ornately carved paterae, one for each spandrel below the walkway. These had to be removed in the late 19th century and no records of what they were like exist. For the carving to replace them inspiration was taken from the paterae in St Paul's Cathedral.'

The judges commented, 'A careful restoration of the Monument, carried out without overdoing the replacement and in a sympathetic way. Nothing appears to be out of place. Pooil Vaaish is a fragile stone and not easy to work, so to achieve the first class result result seen here is a testament to the skill of the masons.

The project blends to the technical challenges and the logistics of dealing with the size of The Monument in an expert way.'

To view this project in more detail, please click here.

The Monument using Portland Stone