Winchester Cathedral was built on marsh and was on the verge of collapse as it sunk into the earth. A diver named William Walker worked alone in pitch-black water for five years, eventually putting down 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks, and 900,000 bricks to save its foundation.

Saving the Cathedral

A century ago, Winchester Cathedral was saved by the heroic work of William Walker, a diver who worked tirelessly to shore up the historic foundations and preserve one of England’s greatest buildings.

The story goes back to 1905 when experts discovered that parts of Winchester Cathedral were under serious threat of collapse.

Collapsing

The Cathedral’s archeologist Dr John Crook explained why the the building was in such peril:

“There were large cracks in the masonry. One of the pillars in the crypt in the eastern end of the Cathedral was forcing itself through the earth beneath so the vaulting was collapsing there.

“The west front of the Cathedral was in a terrible state with bits of masonry falling off. Its conceivable … Continue Reading (3 minute read)

12 thoughts on “Winchester Cathedral was built on marsh and was on the verge of collapse as it sunk into the earth. A diver named William Walker worked alone in pitch-black water for five years, eventually putting down 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks, and 900,000 bricks to save its foundation.”

  1. Splunge-

    One day son, all this will be yours.

  2. B86en

    There’s also an excellent pub right next to the cathedral called the William Walker with various bits of art and info about him.

  3. stdoubtloud

    A wise man builds his house on a marsh?

  4. HangryValkyrie

    I wonder if this had any psychological effect.

  5. KenardGUMP

    He also cycled 150 miles home to see his family at the weekend then cycled back 150 miles to work lol what a beast

  6. Tinmania

    Today, after five years, the fifty person planning team just might be finished with their initial recommendation.

  7. SuperJew113

    When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.

  8. ExtonGuy

    That’s 104 items per hour, about. Bags and blocks and bricks. Without much vacation or sick time.

  9. kindapinkypurple

    I visited as a teenager with my grandparents, my grandad said his relative (uncle?) helped the restoration, I think it was the bloke who managed Walker’s air pipe.

  10. reltubnahte

    I built a third one. That burned down over THEN sank into the swamp BUT THE FORTH ONE STAYED UP

  11. piepants2001

    Is this the same Winchester Cathedral referenced in the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song ‘Cathedral’?

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