A PROGRAMME of repair work has started at the Anglican Cathedral in Old Portsmouth.
The £726,000 project will see the cathedral’s tower and historic east wall restored.
The work is expected to last until December, during which time the tower’s clock chimes will not ring.
Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Reverend David Brindley, said the project was a ‘major job on a major city landmark’.
He said: ‘The top of the tower has been quite badly damaged by weather over the years because of the salt, which is corrosive.
‘But that’s why we are called the cathedral of the sea.’
The restoration will be paid for through a £20m First World War Centenary Cathedral Repair Fund, which was made available to cathedrals in recognition of the role they are playing in the commemorations of that conflict.
Mr Brindley said: ‘It’s a major government grant to restore the tower in memory of those who died in the First World War.
‘It was built in about 1710, so it’s due a makeover.
‘During the next few months we’ll be taking off all the lead, renewing the galleon on the top, and strengthening the tower by putting lots of new woodwork inside it.
It’s a major job on a major city landmarkDavid Brindley
‘After next week or so we won’t see it again for some months because it will be surrounded in scaffolding.’
The east wall dates from the 12th century.
Dorset-based Daedalus Conservation is undertaking the work.
Mr Brindley said the cathedral had a problem with rainwater coming in through the tower and causing damage, which the works would aim to fix.
He said there would be a series of 10 guided tours of the tower so people could see the work being carried out.
Mr Brindley said he hoped the project would be finished by Christmas.