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   xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Mar 15 11:07 PM

March 16th, 2018: Winchester Cathedral

♫ Winchester Cathedral... You're bringing me down
♪ You stood and you watched as... My baby left town
♫ You could have done something... But you didn't try
♪ You didn't do nothing... You let her walk by

Around 1900 Winchester Cathedral started cracking up, huge cracks in the walls and arches, with falling debris.
The reason was it was built on peaty soil with a high water table and it was doing a slow motion Titanic.
Architect Tom Jackson figured the cathedral needed a good foundation.

Jackson planned to dig narrow trenches underneath the walls of the building and fill them with concrete. These would need to reach 4 metres (13 feet) below the water table to be effective.
At first, it seemed Jackson’s plan would prove unworkable. As fast as the workmen dug, water flooded into their trenches. Even a steam pump couldn’t hold it back long enough.
It seemed nothing could be done to stop total collapse. Then the project’s engineer, Francis Fox, had a brilliant idea. If the water couldn’t be held back, why not use a deep-sea diver to do the work?
So William Walker, an experienced diver working at Portsmouth dockyard, was called in.

From 1906, Walker laboured under water below the Cathedral for six hours a day at depths up to 6 metres (20 ft). He worked in total darkness, using his bare hands to feel his way through the cloudy, muddy water. His huge, heavy diving suit took a long time to put on. So when he stopped for lunch, he’d just take off his helmet. He also sometimes smoked his pipe, which he thought would kill off any germs.

It took him six years to excavate the flooded trenches and fill them with bags of concrete. When he’d finished, all the groundwater could be pumped out and the subsiding walls safely underpinned by bricklayers. By 1911, the team of 150 workmen of which he was part had packed the foundations with an estimated 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks, and 900,000 bricks.
Finally, a line of imposing buttresses was added to the south side of the cathedral, and the building was safe at last.

A special service of thanksgiving was held on St Swithun’s Day 1912, after which Walker was presented to George V and Queen Mary. He was later made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO).
Sadly, he died aged just 49, during the great Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.
Guess he gave up his pipe.


JuancoRocks  Friday Mar 16 05:58 AM

Winchester Cathedral.......

When I was in the Army we used to sing that song every time we drove through Winchester, Virginia. (Every weekend)

It had a Cathedral too. (Not that one)


Diaphone Jim  Friday Mar 16 01:21 PM

Six years!
Top ten worst jobs in history.
They should have made him a Baron or something.

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