The spire was probably completed with the bell chamber at the top of the tower in the 15th century. It was painted white in 1912 at the request of Trinity House, the government's maritime authority, so it could be used as a landmark for ships navigating the River Thames.
In 2016, the Spire was repaired and repainted. The Friends of St Nicholas raised funds to help pay for this work.
On the rafters are several pairs of initials, some with dates: FB 1863, PR 1912, TB (Tom Bailey) 1912, OB 1920, LHB, SB (Saffary Bailey).
A new weather vane was fixed to the top
of the Spire in 1936 – before the age of Health and Safety...
When the spire was repainted in the 1990s, it was discovered that many of the boards were rotten and had to be replaced.
Some of the ends of the tie beams, the beams holding up the vertical kingpost through the centre of the spire, were also found to be rotten. RSJs (rolled steel joists) were installed across the corners to support these tie beams and hold up the spire.
The Friends of St Nicholas raised funds to help pay for this work. The repairs and painting cost £20,000, plus an extra £5,800 for the RSJs.