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Replacing the Church roof after the Church fire in 1965

Richard Harbour was one of three men who worked on the Church roof after the Church fire in 1965. He was working for Wm Corah and Son, a building firm from Loughborough. On 13th October 2012 he visited Quorn Church for the first time since they finished the job.

As the men were working they probably didnít know it, but they were occasionally being watched. Richard Thomson was a young teenager at the time. He used to cut the grass in the churchyard and was also a bell ringer and in the choir. He had a key to the tower, and him and his pal used to go up to the top and watch the men as they worked on the roof. From this vantage point, Richard would often take photographs.

In the picture below, the man on the left is Pat, he was the labourer. He was Irish and still lives in Loughborough today (2012), he is in his early 90s. The man on the right, bending down, intent on his work, is Richard Harbour. Further to the right (circled in red) can be seen the cross which was later put back in place as indicated.
On the left you can just see a tool (circled in red). This was a 100 year old adze. Richard H said that the metal it was made of was so hard that they couldnít sharpen it with any of their normal methods. At that time tungsten carbide drills had just come in, and a firm in Loughborough had recently acquired a sharpener for them. They took the adze along and it was duly sharpened. It never lost its edge during the whole project.

The whole of the roof of the nave had to be replaced. Richard (Harbour) remembers that the fire damaged timbers were riddled with death-watch beetle, so the opportunity was taken to treat all the remaining woodwork. Richard signed his name on the new beams, which were all oak. On top of the oak panelling, 1Ĺ inch thick pine was laid at 45 degrees. This had been treated by a very new method that we now know as tanalising. The pews in the nave were not only damaged by charring and smoke, but also pitted with lead that dripped from the roof. These had to be sanded back before being revarnished. A long and tedious task that was not enjoyed by the three men.

The second picture shows one of the beams being swung up to the roof using a long crane.

It is thought that the fire was started by an electrical fault in the choir vestry. The robes caught fire and the tower acted like a chimney.

See also artefact 2018.


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 Submitted on: 2012-10-14
 Submitted by: Information from Richard Harbour, photographs from Richard Thompson
 Artefact ID: 1693
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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