Bell Tower project highlights Rhodes & Partners specialists survey skills

The need to preserve a Tameside church building has highlighted the specialist historic building expertise offered by a leading north west structural engineering consultancy. Marple Bridge-based Rhodes & Partners recently completed a structural assessment of the bell tower of St Mary’s church in Hollingworth, Greater Manchester which had been experiencing structural movement.

“Although we have handled many projects on historic buildings, this was definitely a little out of the ordinary,” explains Rhodes & Partners’ Sheila MacLaren, the Associate specialising in historic buildings. The slender bell-tower is 43 feet in height and over recent years some masonry had become displaced and it was leaning to one side. A full structural survey was needed to assess the safety of the structure and identify any remedial work that was required.

“Close inspection of the structure revealed that the side of the tower which faced the prevailing wind direction had suffered from the effects of weathering,” adds Sheila. ”Mortar joints had begun to erode, and stonework had become cracked and displaced.”

The survey was made more challenging by the fact that, from ground level, it was not clear whether or not the spire masonry was supported by iron cramps. “It really was a case of examining the structure itself in great detail and determining whether or not the movement had progressed sufficiently to cause the tower to become unsafe,” adds Sheila.

“Fortunately we have considerable experience of working on historic buildings such as this, and we were able to propose a schedule of works that would make the tower safe in the short term, and allow the lean to be monitored in the future. “

“We were delighted with the work which Rhodes & Partners carried out on our bell-tower,” concludes Reverend Bruce Perrin of St Mary’s. “It’s certainly reassuring to know that the tower can be preserved as it represents an important landmark in our local community.”

For more details on Rhodes & Partners, please visit, email office(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) , or call 0161 427 8388.