Tower & Bells Renovation
The Nature of the Problem
The tower was built in the thirteenth century and is 83 feet high; the bells, which sit at the top of the tower, date from around 1777 and have not had any major work carried out on them since they were rehung in 1928. They were hanging in a frame made up of steel girders, the main ones being ten inches deep. At that time metal bellframes were not galvanised, (i.e. the steel coated in rust resistant zinc), as is usual today. During the intervening years, the ends of the girders had slowly corroded where they were buried in the brickwork incorporating them into the tower walls and it had become evident that the bell frame needed to be replaced.
Similar serious corrosion had also been found in the girder supporting the clock weights, and we felt that it was dangerous to continue to support the weights in this way. A temporary solution had been found to keep to keep the clock running for the time being. The clock itself, which is situated below the bells, dates from 1878 and, although carefully maintained over the years, it was also in need of a major overhaul as well as converting to electric winding to ensure it would keep going without twice weekly physical effort by ageing volunteers.