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28 August 2016 | Vicar Writes

Works in Progress at the Nave

By Terry Wong
We are in the midst of looking at the plaster degradation issues in the walls in the Nave. You would have noticed that most of the plaster degradation is happening at areas of the walls at eye level or lower. This is due to the process of salinization from the ground up, as Cathedral is (or was!) located near the sea. It is also the same problem faced by some Cathedrals in nearby places like Penang and Macau.

Finding the right solution is important if repairs are to be effective. We have started a conservation trial on our lime plaster, done in collaboration with Dr Yeo Kang Shua of the Singapore University of Technology and Design. We are slaking our own lime plaster to discover the appropriate composition of plaster for the Cathedral’s walls and pillars. We will soon start the de-salinization process on the rear column in the Nave. This trial will take about 3-4 months.

Some of the terracotta tiles in the Nave have deteriorated creating an uneven floor, which can cause tripping. While we could just work on those tiles that have shown wear, it would make sense at this point, to replace all the terracotta tiles. We consulted the Preservation of Sites and Monuments on this project in 2013. The Finance and Property Committee has considered this matter and has sourced for terracotta tiles of acceptable quality.

A large area of the Nave will have to be cordoned off to carry out this work. Pews would have to be removed during the weekday, and put back by Sunday. This may take 2 months and the plan is to begin the work at a suitable time next year. The Nave will be closed or partially closed during this time.

In 2012, we did the restoration work of the stained glass windows. Some additional maintenance work on the stained glass at the East Windows as well as the clerestory will need to be done soon. This should be completed by the end of this year.

We intend to enhance our lightning protection system. Inadequate protection can cause damage to electrical equipment due to a power surge or induced current.

Meanwhile, we have started to look into ways to ensure effective and regular maintenance of the cleanliness of our pews and other areas of the Nave.

We ask that worshippers also do their part to keep the Nave clean, tidy and neat:

• Refrain from leaving behind food, wrappers, umbrellas or water bottles at the pews.

• We are thankful for the new kneelers but we remind ourselves that these are to be knelt on, not stepped on! Do not use them as foot-rests.

• Leave the bibles and hymnals properly and neatly stacked.

• Take away with you any bulletins and papers as someone else would have to clean up after you. Extra bulletins can be left at the table near the entrance.

We honour the Lord and one another when we treat the House of the Lord with the highest regard.