Landmark heavy work begins

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A huge crane has been giving visitors to Williamson Park an unorthodox view of the Ashton Memorial.

The crane was in action this week as part of a £183,000 scheme to restore the iconic landmark’s steps began.

They have been closed for more than a year amid fears that they were unsafe due to the deterioration of underground foundations and support structures.

The crane is being used to carefully remove the fragile curved granite steps to make way for repairs to the areas of damaged stone, foundations and supporting structures.

A new supporting structure to the lower staircase will be made in reinforced concrete and steel. The repaired granite steps will be replaced and the masonry joints re-pointed.

The city council says the failure of the supporting structure to the granite steps was partly due to the manner of construction typical of the time when it was built.

This comprised of rolled steel joists and coke breeze concrete which have not provide full corrosion protection.

Rainwater ingress through the masonry joints had damaged the concrete and caused corrosion of the steel beams.

The work should be complete by April.