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Ecclesiastical & Heritage World Nimrod

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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

Replacement flagpole for St Edmund's Church, Southwold

Harrison Flagpoles Sothwold 01Harrison Flagpoles had to design, manufacture and install a replacement flagpole for the top of the 100 ft tower on St Edmund’s Church in Southwold without disturbing the existing lead lined roof and incorporating the church’s own weather vane.


This job presented a host of challenges. The existing timber flagpole had rotted 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 ft above sea level, with a bell tower rising a further 100ft. 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.


Harrison Flagpoles 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, Harrison’s 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.

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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 8 metres 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.

If you would like to find out more about the products discussed in this case study, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our specialist advisers.

For further information visit weareharrisons.co.uk