Drone Surveys and Inspections
We were appointed in January 2018 by Bodmin Town Council to conduct an aerial inspection drone survey of the 144 feet high Bodmin Beacon Grade II Listed monument and provide high definition images (20 megapixel) for interpretation by a specialist structural engineer.
The exposed location of the monument means that the granite obelisk has been exposed to the elements since its construction in 1857.
The monument had iron bracings added to it in the 1960’s to strengthen the structure. A number of the granite blocks have moved and the mortar joints are showing major loss and decay.
As specialists in drone building surveys we took a wide selection of images of the four sides of the monument and sequenced / referenced them for analysis by the structural engineer.
This was the most efficient and cost effective way to inspect the high Grade II listed monument.
Bodmin Beacon Monument
The Bodmin Beacon is a rounded hill lying in a prominent position adjacent to the town of Bodmin. At its highest point it reaches 162m with a distinctive landmark at its peak, the 144 foot tall (44m) monument to Lieutenant General Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert built in 1857.
The obelisk monument was erected in memory of his services to the nation.
The whole hill surrounding the Gilbert granite monument is a nature reserve with wonderful views towards Bodmin Moor and the surrounding countryside.
The site is managed by Bodmin Town Council in partnership with Cornwall Council and covers 87 acres of traditionally managed farmland, public amenity space and community woodland.
The site is just a short walk from the town centre or there is a small free car park. The reserve is crossed with walking paths and is popular with dog walkers and local residents.
Who Was Sir Walter Gilbert
He was a well known soldier in India, and after his death in 1853 a memorial obelisk was erected on the Bodmin Beacon. His baronetcy became extinct on his son Francis’s death.
He was a notable commander of the Bengal Army in the India campaigns of 1845-46 and was made a KCB in April 1846. He went on to command a division in India in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, at the 1849 battles of Chilianwala and Gujrat before leading his division across the Jhelum River to pursue the remnants of the Sikh army and receiving their surrender on 3 and 6 March.
He next pursued the Sikhs’ Afghan allies right up to the Khyber Pass, bought an end to the war, and in reward was appointed GCB in June 1849 and a baronet in 1850.
He died at the age of 68 in May 1853 and Walter is buried on the west side of the southern section of the central north-south path in Kensal Green Cemetery in London. His tombstone is styled like the obelisk.
The British Listed buildings register says in its description of the grade II monument which was listed in 1949:
“The Court of Directors appointed him to the Supreme Council in India AND THIS MONUMENT raised on this spot
at the earnest request of his fellow townsmen of BODMIN has been erected by Companions in Arms and private friends in
testimony of their admiration of his eminent Public Services as a Soldier and of their regard and respect for his Estimable Personal Qualities.”