Caledonian Clock tower – Dragon

The Caledonian Clock Tower was the centrepiece of the metropolitan cattle market which opened in 1855.
The substantial dragon that tops the weathervane was stripped of previous coatings prior to our arrival, some scales had been lost in the process and many that remained were loose. While the copper structure appeared stable, there was some splitting of the seams. One clawed toe was produced from storage, it still had the original gilding and lacked the brown coats that had been added later which dated its separation relatively early, possibly contemporaneous with the damage suffered by the scrolls on the cardinal points. There was well adhered zinc rich coating on the copper. An endoscope was used to explore the inside where it was clear that there was no ferrous armature supporting the body.
Loose scales were removed with positions noted, the whole cleaned and primed prior to re-fixing the old scales and introducing new ones made to fit on site. Gaps around the scales were all filled with mastic to prevent water ingress and to provide a sound substrate for the gilding. The toe was reattached using tabs and rivets, its position meant that this was the least invasive and risky process available that gave the strength needed.