Saving Spires – The Plight of Crumbling Spires in the UK

01 December, 2021

Spires are a key feature of the UK’s landscape; it’s no surprise that many people’s favourite churches have spires and represent the focal point of villages, towns and cities.

Due to their height and typically slender structure, church spires are particularly vulnerable to the elements.

Prolonged exposure to extreme weather conditions, such as high winds and torrential rain, means church towers (or any towers) can suffer from serious structural problems. In particular, the cracking and dislocation of parts on the roof including stone decay and deterioration, rusting of iron cramps used in Victorian spires to hold masonry together, and natural elements such as woodpecker damage to wooden spires can cause a multitude of issues.

Roof damage of all sorts can lead to leaks and the decay of the timber beams below, including those that make up the floors. Structural deformation over time can cause issues such as leaning steeples and crumbling spires.

In many cases, damage can be limited — and even prevented — by restoring the cladding and stonework of the spire.

Over several decades, Universal Stone has worked in close collaboration with many heritage and ecclesiastical groups to preserve and improve buildings of historical importance.

This means we know how the precise mechanics and implications of church spire work, whilst preserving the beauty of the exterior fabric.  Our professional restoration teams have extensive experience working on spire projects throughout London and the South East.  We have in-depth understanding of repair elements, steeple surveying, scaffolding, height access, stone masonry, structural engineering and costs.

USL specialises in historic building conservation, repair, and maintenance. Why not visit our Portfolio section on our website for more examples.

Structural damage is dangerous and can be costly to repair if left too late, particularly in buildings with a regular flow of visitors, so don’t wait too long.

To start your restoration journey, the best course of action is to contact restoration specialists like ourselves and architectural inspectors.  Together with a full survey and expert assessment, you’ll be able to ascertain what is needed.  At times, half the battle is knowing.  We are here to help you discover the problems and recommend the best course of action. Contact us today for more info.  


The USL team have started a new exciting restoration project at the iconic Spire House, a unique church conversion.

Visitors walking past the elegant terraces of Lancaster Gate in London’s Bayswater district will be familiar with the Gothic tower with its iconic stone needle spire that form part of the residential development known as Spire House. Only the spire and tower remain of the former church known as Christ Church, Lancaster Gate, which was transformed in 1983 into a luxury six-storey residential development containing 20 privately-owned apartments and three penthouses.

The following photos shows our team wrapping the spire with protective netting prior to works commencing.  Not for the faint hearted, as they utilise large boom lifts to access the upper sections.  We look forward to bringing you more about this interesting restoration project.

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