Somerset House is one of London’s working arts centre – a prestigious building located between the Strand and the River Thames. The original building was constructed for the Duke of Somerset in 1547, becoming a Royal Palace in 1552. After decades of neglect it was demolished in 1775 and rebuilt in a neoclassical style and for over 200 years housed various governmental departments. Since 2000 it has developed as a ground-breaking arts and entertainment programme as well as being home to London’s largest and most exciting creative community.
As you enter from The Strand, the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court opens up to an impressive vista, and a magnificent white timber flagpole as the centre piece of the large imposing dome.
During a period of extreme weather in early 2018, the timber flagpole snapped. Flagpole Company were appointed to provide advice and professional services for the supply and commissioning of a replacement timber flagpole. The initial survey revealed that the failure of the flagpole had resulted from severe gusting winds with the flag hoisted and the decayed core of the flagpole, severely weakening it. Replacement options were presented to the client for a new flagpole however, due to its Grade 1 Listed Status the replacement flagpole should be of timber construction.
Following approval by Somerset House a new 11m flagpole was trimmed to fit inside the Dome with additional bespoke fabricated clamps. The Union flag was flown for the first time on 12th April 2018.
Despite a regular inspection regime in place for the original timber flagpole, visual and surface level tests do not always reveal the full extent of the internal condition within the core of the flagpole.
It is essential for timber flagpoles to have at least one regular annual maintenance survey, but this will vary according to location. As timber is a natural product it is more susceptible to nature’s elements and environmental conditions and a budget should be set aside for regular inspection and maintenance from a scaffold or mobile access platform. The person responsible for the flag should remove the flag when wind speeds reach 30 miles per hour. This reduces the loading on the flagpole and helps prolong the life of the flag.
Twelve months after the installation our engineer returned to Somerset House to undertake the first visual inspection, finding the flagpole in excellent condition.
Flagpole Company www.flagpolecompany.co.uk