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A complex design and installation for St Edmund's Church, Southwold

To design, manufacture and install a replacement flagpole for the top of the 100’ tower on St Edmund's Church in Southwold without disturbing the existing lead lined roof and incorporating the church's own weather vane. Images courtesy of Alan Greening, Church Architect, Southwold, Suffolk

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This job presented a host of challenges. The existing timber flagpole had rotten and over the years moved on it’s fixing causing water ingress into the bell tower. The roof access was limited and the roof itself was without parapet and therefore exposed providing extra risks in installation. The Church is located within the seaside town of Southwold, approximately 40’ above sea level with a bell tower rising a further 100’. Without any guys and significantly exposed to coastal winds the flagpole would need to be designed specifically for this application. Furthermore the client required a newly constructed weather vane to be secured to the top of the mast.

Our Solution

Harrisons completed an initial survey and removed the old rotten pole and weather vane. When it became evident that using the remaining timber base of the old pole would be unsuitable Harrisons designed a new flagpole based on a series of structural calculations taking into consideration all critical factors such as the elevation, location, internal structure of the bell tower, the new weather vane and protection against a lightning strike. Supported by a further site visit Harrison’s submitted the design calculations and design to the client and addressed the queries raised by the architects and appointed structural engineers on site. The flagpole was custom made to a set diameter in glassfibre and included an additional insert at the top to secure the weather vane. The Pole with it’s specially designed steel foot was mounted onto a two piece two metre tall pedestal base, the lower section secured to the existing beams within the bell tower and the top half designed with a top plate to secure the hinged base of the flagpole. This pedestal design is ideal where access is made difficult and maintaining the integrity of the existing structure, in this case the lead lined roof, is of such critical importance. Whilst over 8m in height and bringing the top of the weather vane to over 50 metres above the sea below, the flag is flown deliberately two metres below the weather vane to ensure it does not catch on the vane in a gust.

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