Posted on 21/2/17 in Case Studies

Falkirk Steeple - Wykamol Products Help Preserve an Historic Landmark

A Little Bit of History

Maintenance & Building Preservations were asked to complete the Structural Timber repairs on the Falkirk Steeple, an historic landmark on Falkirk’s High Street since the late 15th Century.

The current Falkirk Steeple structure - or, simply, The Steeple as it is affectionately known by the Falkirk Community – dates back to 1814 and encompasses a combination of architectural styles, designed by David Hamilton (1768 – 1843) and constructed using sandstone from the Brighton's quarry nearby.

The first and second stages of the tower are traditional and plain, yet the third stage is in the style of Greek Doric with its four columns at each corner. The fourth stage displays Italianate style and holds the iconic clock faces. The fifth stage has Ionic columns – the smallest of the columns, characterised by the spiral, scroll like adornments at the top.

The original steeple structure, which stood in the same place on Falkirk High Street, was constructed in 1697 and acted as the town’s tollbooth until the late 18th Century. This structure was demolished after the construction of an adjacent building caused the steeple to subside. The spire also suffered damaged on 17th June 1927, when it was struck by lightning, causing the historic cockerel weather vane to be thrown from the Steeple. The same cockerel was restored to its rightful place two years later, overlooking Falkirk town, where it has resided since 1814.

The preservation work on Falkirk Steeple is part of a larger Townscape Heritage Initiative which, among many things, aims is to encourage the local community to engage with Falkirk’s heritage. With a budget of £750,000, the Steeple Project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

Ian Scott, Chairman of the Falkirk Local History Society was kind enough to provide us with images of the Steeple in 1904, which were featured on a postcard. The second image is from the front of the Falkirk District Council Building Control Handbook. Once the preservation work is completed the Steeple will be open to the public for visits to encourage the Falkirk community to learn about local history.

Falkirk Steeple 1904 Steeple Plaque Building Control Handbook
  • Falkirk Steeple 1904
  • Steeple Plaque
  • Building Control Handbook

The Project

As with any project on historic and listed buildings, all repairs must follow strict guidelines and be sanctioned by Historic Scotland. Wykamol timber treatments were used by Maintenance & Building Preservation Ltd to repair and renew the timber beams supporting both the main and smaller bells in the Steeple. The structural floor timbers and wall plate also needed some attention, and working alongside main contractors Land Engineering and ZM Architecture Ltd, all the work was completed within an agreed timescale and on budget.

Our Technical Manager in Scotland, was pleased to be contacted about such a prestigious and historic project. We advised the best timber preservation methods which were in keeping with Historic Scotland’s guidelines. Wykamol Boron Rods were implemented into the timber to prevent future damage from wood rotting fungi and wood boring beetles. Wykamol Boron Rods are comprised of anhydrous boric oxide which is activated when the timber is exposed to damp – the starting point for wood rot issues. Microtech Dual Purpose was used in areas where Boron Rods could not be implemented, for prevention of the same issues. Structural Pouring Resin was then used to bond together damaged timber where necessary, repairing the timber’s structural integrity. The Pouring Resin fills the damaged spaces left by rot and insect infestations, making it sturdy, with no need for timber replacements.

This process allowed the contractors to preserve the original timber structure, adhering to Historic Scotland’s guidelines for building work on listed buildings.

For expert information on our Timber Preservation products please contact your Regional Technical Manager. Don’t know the Technical Manager in your area? Call Head Office on 0845 400 6666 and find out today.

The Steeple Falkirk 049 The Steeple Falkirk 015 The Steeple Falkirk 013 The Steeple Falkirk 059 The Steeple Falkirk 064
  • The Steeple Falkirk 049
  • The Steeple Falkirk 015
  • The Steeple Falkirk 013
  • The Steeple Falkirk 059
  • The Steeple Falkirk 064