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Norwich Cathedral’s weathercock to shine bright once again after restoration project

PUBLISHED: 15:23 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 16 September 2020

Chris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored.  Bob James who orginally removed the weathercock in the 1960's Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Chris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored. Bob James who orginally removed the weathercock in the 1960's Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Restorers past and present of Norwich Cathedral’s historic weathercock met for the first time ahead of the artefact returning to pride of place on the city’s skyline.

Chris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored.  Bob James who orginally removed the weathercock in the 1960's  Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANChris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored. Bob James who orginally removed the weathercock in the 1960's Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Father and son team Chris and Sam Milford, of WallWalkers, have spent the last three weeks gently restoring and reguilding the gold cockerel weather vane as part of restoration works.

The pair were able to meet Bob James, from Sprowston, who was part of the last restoration team six decades before.

The men swapped stories of their times working on the project, from the discoveries they made to the differing techniques used to bring the cockerel to the ground.

More: Meet the man who took down Norwich Cathedral’s weathercock in 1963

They also spoke of the long standing rumour of the weathercocks size which had been thought for decades to be the size of a donkey.

Chris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored.  Bob James who orginally removed the weathercock in the 1960's  Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANChris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored. Bob James who orginally removed the weathercock in the 1960's Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mr James, 86, said: “It is looking stunning again.

“I can remember when we left it and it was looking that in the sunshine, gleaming really nicely.

“I said to my wife it would be nice to see the fellows putting it back up again.

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“It is exactly as I remember it.”

Mr James was 29 and working for historic restorers W.S.Lushers. On the cockerel’s base, the initials of Mr James late friend Frank Cullington, can be read next to the date of their work.

On August 24, WallWakers became the first team since 1963 to make the 315ft climb to the top of the spire to bring the weathercock down.

In its time down on the ground it has been confirmed the cockerel dates back to 1668, nearly 88 years earlier than first though.

Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, the Revd Canon Aidan Platten. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANCathedral’s Canon Precentor, the Revd Canon Aidan Platten. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

To return the cockerel - which weighs 28kg - to its post, the pair will secure it in a box that will be hauled on wheels up the side of the cathedral.

More: What a view - but would you dare? Experts remove weather vane from Cathedral spire

Mr Milford senior said they did not strip it back to bare metal so much of its history could be retained.

He added: “We’re so aware of the sense of history and Bob is that physical connection to it.

“This has been worked on by hands that are long dead, people have kept adding to it. What we have done is added on to the work that Bob did 60 years ago.”

Chris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANChris and Sam Milford, from the historic building conservation specialists WallWalkers with Norwich Cathedral Weathercock that has been restored. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The cockerel will be returned to pride of place on Thursday.

Canon Aidan Platten, from the cathedral, added it will be wonderful to have the cockerel restored to be seen shining across the region.


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