The renovation works to the Church began on Monday 16th April 2012.
The work was completed on schedule and we moved back into St Bede's on Sunday 29th July.
Many thanks to Bob Mitchell and all the staff at O & P Construction, Wath, especially to John Dillon the site manager; to Allan Hair of John Hill Associates, Doncaster who planned and supervised the work; Paul Lupton who laid the sanctuary floor; Martyn Smith who planned the lighting scheme; Jupiter who put in the under-floor heating; Wayne Scrivens who did the electrical work; Scratch Music of Doncaster who put in the sound system and loop., David Everingham who restored the statues and stations.
Renewed thanks to David Moore and all at Pendle Stained Glass - the final windows in the organ loft were put in during the final stages of the renovations.
THE FIRST WEEK
It has been a week of stripping out with the removal of the benches and protection of the windows and organ, making the church look very sad.
At a site meeting during the week the need to keep to schedule was again emphasised and accepted.
Jupiter have a slot for their work of laying the heating system and it's insulation. That is a major milestone that must be hit ( to mix metaphors).
So far the work is going well but it is only the end of week one. Thirteen to go.
Progress is good. The altar and tabernacle-stand were removed on Monday; work is well underway with the damp course and ceiling insulation.
The removal of the heaters and blowers left four great alcoves in the sides of the church. These were going to be filled in and plastered over, then I had an idea. The statues were set on plinths - why not make niches for the statues in the alcoves? This is now being done. Saints Anthony and Teresa will be situated at the back on the left as you enter the church, Saint Patrick on the left-hand side (by the God the Father window, remembering the Irish who built St Bede's ), and the Sacred Heart on the right-hand side (approximately opposite the window to Christ the Bringer of Peace).
At the front of the church, below the Forty Martyrs' window, there will be an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (Patroness of the Diocese) inserted into the alcove, which has been commissioned for St Bede's in memory of Father Bill Burtoft and his sister Mary.
WEEK THREE - A Fascinating Revelation
I was invited into church on Wednesday evening to see what the builders had revealed when they took away the plasterboard that had covered the Sanctuary ceiling. I was staring at St Marie's Sanctuary ceiling: curved supports and a blue starry 'vault of heaven' (though St Marie's has angels holding up the roof).
On Thursday I visited the ceiling itself via one of those ascending platforms and discussed the decoration. So the plan to insulate the ceiling has been abandoned (minimal effect) and the ceiling will be restored to it's original stunning beauty.
There was a meeting in the church last Wednesday with myself, Allan Hair (John Hill Associates), who is co-ordinating all the activity, Tom Garrud form the Diocese and John Dillon, the excellent site manager. There are some concerns about the plastering, more being required than first thought, but generally progress is good and the schedule being maintained.
All high level work needs to be completed by the end of next week as Jupiter, the underfloor heating people, then arrive to do their work and cherry pickers will not be able to be used after that.
There is a site meeting next Wednesday with all parties to consider progress.
Apart from the plastering issues - more need discovered and therefore more work to be undertaken - the work is on schedule and Jupiter will arrive on Monday 21st May to do their work laying the underfloor heating.
There was an issue with the alarm system when frayed wiring was found and a new system ( at further cost to the overall budget ) will be introduced by PN Alarms.
The little door in the corner by the Mary Altar has been heightened and widened.
Jupiter, who are installing the underfloor heating system, arrived on Monday and quickly got down to work, which should be completed before the end of the week.
Meanwhile work continues in the sacristies, and so the work is just about on schedule.
Jupiter completed their work on Wednesday, ahead of schedule, and the stone floor has been delivered and work laying it begins on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the work on the outside of the church is well on, to compensate for the raised level of the floor and ensure continued wheelchair access to the church and improve the drainage.
The York stone slabs are being laid in the church and already the effect is powerful.
External works continue to improve the drainage in the car park.
I have met with a restorer to clean and touch up the statues and the stations, and spoken again to Helen who is painting an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour for us - this should be with us before the church opens. To view her work go to www.elenisicons.co.uk.
The laying, grouting and cleaning of the York stone is nearly complete and the Stone is now protected with matting as the decorators are at work.
The marble tiles in the Sanctuary are being laid by Paul Lupton as the decorating continues- the effect is stunning.
The work should be completed on schedule and we expect to beback in St Bede's on Sunday 29th July.
The marble has been laid on the sanctuary floor and the altar returned; the panelling is being fitted and the decoration continues.
Meanwhile the statues and the Stations of the Cross have been moved off site for cleaning and touching up. The Statues will be back in time for the re-opening although the Stations may take a little longer.
The work should be completed on schedule and we expext to be back in St Bede's on Sunday July 29th.
The decoration is finished, the lights work, the panelling is in and I saw the benches in their warehouse during the week.
The work outside is well underway and the stone feature outside the main door is taking shape - the focus will no longer be a drain!
The benches are in the church and final checks, snagging etc are to be completed. The external works have been delayed by the weather but not significantly.
OUR FINAL WEEK
The contract cleaners come into church on Monday and the snagging and final touches will be sorted out for a handover in the middle of the week. We will then put the furniture and statues back into the church and the vestments and candles back into the sacristies ready for Mass on Sunday morning.