The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 25 November 2019 01:00cat

The wall of a medieval castle collapsed into a house in England

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Medieval castle partially collapses on a house in England Medieval castle partially collapses on a house in England BBC

A wall section of Lewes Castle, a medieval fortification structure that was built during the 11th century and is located in East Sussex, England, partially collapsed into a residence.

On Monday, November 11, 2019, a 100m2 part of the castle's wall, weighing about 600 tons, gave way and debris fell into a house with a garden. 

Rescue operations begun right after the collapse was reported. Emergency crews including firefighters, police officers and ambulances, rushed at the scene in search of people that may have been trapped under the rubble. Fortunately, firefighters reported that no one was found.

According to East Sussex County Council, the castle was under "multiple ownership". The collapsed section was privately-owned and consisted a part of an exterior wall used as a defense measure that surrounded the castle, a spokesman for Sussex Archaeological Society, an organization that owns some other parts of the castle, stated. Remarkably, the damaged section was one of the last that was still remaining standing. "There's not much of it left standing. It's one of the last sections that was still at full height," the spokeswoman added.

A team of structural engineers was deployed to investigate the causes of the failure. At the same time, experts inspected the castle's remaining parts and ensured that there no loss of structural integrity. 

According to a spokesperson for the county council, the castle was recently evaluated and repair measures were implemented where necessary. "The county council undertook survey, repairs and strengthening works to this section of the wall in 2017 under Scheduled Monument planning and building approvals, but we are not aware of any more recent activity that may have led to this collapse," the spokesperson, stated.

Authorities decided to demolish the remaining part of the wall that was still standing for safety reasons. On November 21, an operation that utilized heavy machinery knocked down the wall onto a nearby area where no houses exist.  “This part of the wall was in a dangerous position and if it had collapsed could have caused further damage to neighboring buildings. We examined all the options and the only way to safely remove this risk was to carry out a controlled removal of this small section of wall," Kevin Foster, East Sussex County Council operating officer, stated. 

Regarding the mechanism of the failure, Mr. Foster said that it is too early to derive the actual cause of the collapse, however, more information will arise in the future.

Click on the video below to watch the removal of the standing section of the wall.



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Lewes Castle Wall removal East Sussex County Council

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