An Account of the Damage to St. George's Church from the Earthquake of 1974

An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale occurred at about 5:55 a.m. on October 8th 1974, and did considerable damage to the St George’s Parish Church.  The epicentre of this quake was some 40 miles east of Antigua, and 60 miles below the surface of the earth.
 
The nave of the church consists of two rows of stone columns on either side. The first of these columns was separated from the east dome of the church which houses the High Altar.  These cracks ran from the top of the arches up to the top of the main stone beam which supports the roof.  Cut stones from each of the arches fell out from these cracks along with smaller bits of mortar. A different shade of grey paint shows the location of the re-inserted stone work in the first arches near the altar.
 
Cracks also appeared in the top arches of two of the windows on the south side of the Church near the pipe organ.  The pipes of the organ were lifted out of their sockets.
 
A crack appeared in the tower.   It ran from the bottom of the clock face down toward the belfry door.  Externally this long fissure did not appear to be very severe, and the stones were re-pointed.  The difference in the re-pointing mortar from the original is still visible even at the time of writing (March 2010)
 
Internally inside the tower, the crack shows itself more pointedly, with a 2½ inch separation in the south wall of the tower behind the clock mechanism.   No attempts were made to repair this internal crack, and nothing in the records indicate why not.
 
On the west wall above the main door, some stones also came out from around the arches which house stained glass windows of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
 
Cracks also appeared in several large roods that were erected on the walls of the church in memory of prominent land owners of the 19th Century.
 
Repairs were made by the English construction firm of Higgs & Hill which at the time of the earthquake was engaged in the extension of the Airport.
 
 
Calvin Cable
 
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