‘Full Steam Ahead’ on The Tankerville Site, 25th November 2016


For the end of November, the weather was unseasonably mild which allowed a great shot of the old Church High building today with the palest of blue skies behind it complete with cotton-wool clouds.  Apart from the tip of a red crane just visible above the roofline, the first change to the building I noticed today was up in the eaves.  All four dormer window frames now appeared to have been removed.

All four dormer window frames are now empty.
All four dormer window frames have now been removed.

Arriving at the gates to the old Junior School grounds, the cotton-wool clouds now provided an interesting – and refreshingly different – backdrop for the ever-growing steel structure of the NHSG new build.  Work was now underway on the last area of the building: the three-storey front section which will face onto Tankerville Terrace.  While I stood there, the large red crane made more than one swinging delivery of shiny steel to the very top floor of the structure.

Crane in the process of lifting steel to the top floor of the new build.
A crane easily lifts the steel for the top floor of the new build

From the gateway, the hive of activity going on at the foot of and within the structure itself wasn’t at all obvious, but, once up close, it was clear that it was ‘full steam ahead’ for everyone on site today.  Much like Ford Madox Brown’s Pre-Raphaelite painting of 19th Century urban construction in progress, ‘Work’, everywhere you looked across the site today a different narrative was unfolding.

Straight in front of me, a pair of yellow ‘cherry-pickers’, manned by smiling workmen, were moving up & down between the levels of the steel structure almost in unison: construction poetry in motion.

Cherry-pickers navigate the steel in tandem.

To my right, a worker was busy attaching a chain to the next piece of heavy, grey steel due to be lifted up aloft by the huge red crane; meanwhile on the second floor, another worker waited to receive it.

A plentiful supply of steel girders waiting to be hoisted into place.
At the base of the structure, another load of  steel is waiting to be hoisted into place.

Zooming in closer still to my right, a team of men working at ground level within the shadowy depths of steel structure were all busy smoothing out wet cement which would soon set to form the floor.

All hands to the deck within the steel structure.
It was ‘all hands on deck’ within the steel structure  today: workers laying and smoothing out the new concrete floor.


Over to my left, two workers were engrossed in smoothing out the surface of what looked like a huge white tarpaulin – presumably the damp course membrane for the floor of the old building extension.

Damp course being laid for the old building extension.
The damp course is being laid for the old building extension.



When completed, this three-storey extension will house a lift, the re-positioned north staircase, two classrooms as well as the Head Mistress’ Office.  However, this was all rather hard to imagine at the moment with the bowels of the building cut wide open and exposed.


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