St John's Anglican Cathedral

St John's Anglican Cathedral
The Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Roof Beams

The replacement of the roof beams over the balconies continues.

Sunlight now floods the interior of the cathedral

South balcony roof beam being replaced

New north balcony roof beams 

Worker wearing dust mask to prevent inhaling bat guano

Friday, March 25, 2011

King Post Truss - Cathedral Roof

The king post truss is used for simple roof trusses and short-span bridges. It is the simplest form of truss in that it is constructed of the fewest number of truss members (individual lengths of wood or metal). The truss consists of two diagonal members that meet at the apex of the truss, one horizontal beam that serves to tie the bottom end of the diagonals together, and the king post which connects the apex to the horizontal beam below. For a roof truss, the diagonal members are called rafters, and the horizontal member may serve as a ceiling joist. A bridge would require two king post trusses with the driving surface between them. A roof usually uses many side-by-side trusses depending on the size of the structure. (

Sketch of the roof trusses at Parlington Hall, Yorkshire England
Cathedral king post roof truss 
Side-by-side roof trusses

Roof Beams and Column Replacement

We are still working in the corner next to the north tower.
North west corner of the Cathedral

Replaced corner column connected to new beams

New topplate beams connected to new columns

Other side of above picture.  The stone wall you are seeing is the north tower
New beams in the roof

New beams with the south tower in the background

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Panoramic View of the Cathedral Interior - Past

For those who are unfamiliar with the interior view of what the Cathedral looked like, I present to you this panoramic view. For those of you familiar with the Cathedral, this would be a nice reminder from the past and a welcome change from the gutted interior shots that have dominated this blog from the start.

St Johns Cathedral (Antigua) in Antigua

Friday, March 18, 2011

Roof Works

Roof works continue with the slow process of removing damaged beams and refitting new ones. 

The roof with more beams and rafters removed

The north side of the roof

An intersection of old and new beams

Mortise and tenon joint between old and new beams

Upper view of the new wooden column

Upper view of the removed ceiling boards

Column Replacement

We had to replace one of the wooden columns by the north tower.  The north tower is the tower closest to the photographer in the banner picture above. 
New wooden column installed

Close up of new wooden column

Ceiling removal

Scaffolding erected at west end of the Cathedral

Ceiling boards next to the north tower removed

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Roof Beam Hoist 2

.....try, try, try again.  The rope pulley has been replaced with a chain hoist and there are many more support beams that have been added to the hoist.  You can see a beam being lifted.  It is steadied by two blue ropes on either end. 

Raising a new roof beam

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Its an Honour....."

You have seen them in the fore and background of many of the pictures on this blog.  The workers on this restoration are a diverse bunch of people.  Many are not Antiguan born and when you include the recent contributions by our brothers from St. Peter's in Florida you get a taste of the callaloo of people that have and will make their mark on this endeavour. 

They have one thing in common.  They all say that it is an honour to work on the Cathedral.  I heard this remark today.  I was on the roof with the contractor as he was showing a new worker the scope and nature of the works. 

It is hard work, what we are doing on the roof.  A high parapet wall prevents the possibility of a fall off the side of the Cathedral which is a good safety feature.  The ceiling however gives the dangerous illusion that to slip off one of the beams will result in a short safe fall and not a 30 foot plummet into the foundations.  But those old boards will not hold you up. Many a beam that looks sound is not and is rotten to the core only waiting for a trusting foot to be placed on it before it shows its true colours and gives way.  Yet when faced with all these challenges, this young man's first remark when he steps out unto the roof is, "Its an honour..." 

Yes,......... it is.

God's children at work.  How He must smile.

Rafter replacement

The work to replace the damaged rafters and beams has commenced. 

Damaged rafter to be replaced.
The ridge beam is first loosened...
then removed.
The rafter was then removed.

Rafter and beam tenons
New rafter mortises being chisled out next to old rafter
New rafter installed

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Roof Beam Hoist

This is the first iteration of the roof beam hoist.  The rope pulley did not work well.  We are going to try a chain hoist next.  If at first you don't suceed, .........

Hoist Located on the Southern Side of the Cathedral
Close-Up of the Rope Pulley
View of the Hoist from the Roof

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back on the Roof, again

Demolition continues on the roof as we devise a way to hoist the new beams.

A view through the rafters
Most of the wood work visible here will have to be replaced
Worker removing wood sheeting
South Tower
View of the South Tower from the North Tower

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Roof Beams Arrive

The replacement roof beams have arrived.  Work in the roof can now recommence, again.
The containers were parked back to back on Church Lane.

The smaller beams were removed first,

then the larger ones.

They were lifeted by a backhoe

and deposited over the churchyard wall.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blessed Help

This post is late.  I have taken too long to write about the latest blessing that we have received on this restoration.  This blessing comes in the form of 21 men from St Peter's Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach Florida. 

Located in Historic Fernandina Beach, FL. 801 Atlantic Avenue
These gentlemen were on there way to Barbuda to install a brand new roof on one of our churches there.  This is not a rarity.  They have been doing this for years.  Once a church in the diocese indentifies a significant construction project or need, these men assemble a team, book and pay for their own passage and bring their tools.  They have installed roofs in St. Kitts, Nevis and are no strangers to the Cathedral having done major repair to the upper balconies a few years ago.  Barbuda unfortunately was not ready in time for these gentlemen and so their loss became our gain. 

To simply say thanks to these men is not enough.  But it is gratifying to know that the work that they do now makes them a part of the very fabric of the Cathedral.  And so it is with all of us who play a part in this restoration.  We are becoming part of the very essence and substance that is the Cathedral that is Antigua.