Follow the progress of the installation of the new bell frame and bells as it happens. The first job will be the removal of the existing bells, this will be ongoing from 21st September.
An early start saw the arrival of the lorry that will transport the bells to Taylors bellfoundry in Loughborough and a teleporter with driver kindly lent to us by Sam Fairs of Hill Farm.
Extracting the bells from the church kitchen involved delicate control of the teleporter which made light work of what otherwise would have been an exhausting job requiring ramps and lots of manpower.
All loaded and secured we waved goodbye to our four old bells.
The final journey…
Despite weary legs we ventured up the tower yet again to lower the last bell No.4 and after lots of pulling and pushing we just managed to fit it into the kitchen space to another loud cheer.
Up to the belfry again, this time to lift bell 3 back into its permanent place in the frame where as a special listed bell it will sit and be used as a service bell.
Lots more journeys up and down the tower followed to remove all tools and lifting gear.
We featured on the BBC News website:
Bells in the kitchen
Tuesday started with the installation of equipment required to lift the bells out of the frame and lower them to ground level. Unfortunately our oldest bell (No.3) dated 1498 is located in the bell frame directly above the hatches that are used so it had to be moved first and stored one level below.
The trickiest bell to lift and lower was always going to be the largest (tenor) which weighs 15-1-9cwt (779kg), so that’s the bell we did first. Slowly it was lifted up out of the bearings which it had sat in for the past 98 years, raised above the frame by block and pulleys, pulled across to the open hatch and then slowly lowered all the way down the tower hatches on each level until it landed on the kitchen floor in the base of the tower a big cheer and relief all round.
Pleased with our success we spent the rest of the day lowering the treble and no.2 bell.
Oggy and Rob removing a bell
Laxfield bellringers under the guidance of bellhanger Andrew 'Oggy' Ogden from John Taylor & Co, started the task of dismantling the wheels and removing other fitments from the four bells that will be recast. All the parts removed were carried down the spiral staircase for use in the Bell Heritage exhibition that is being developed in the museum. Over the course of the day there were lots of journeys up and down the tower and some tired legs at the end of the day! The webcam showing all this activity was very popular based on the feedback we received.
Kirk Brown with the clappers and wheels ready to go to Laxfield Museum
Richard Cox and Mitchell Eaton, clockmakers from Smith of Derby arrived on Tuesday morning to remove the clock mechanism from the tower and the striker that strikes the hour on bell five.
No doubt to the relief of some, the bell will no longer ring out the hours through the day and night.
Once the new bell frame and bells are installed the renovated clock mechanism will be restored to its new position.
Richard Cox removing the clock mechanism
Mitchell Eaton removing the striker from no 5 bell. The worn area where the bell has been struck every hour is clearly visible to the left of Mitchell's face.
On Tuesday evening at 19.00 the current bells were rung for the last time. Some of these bells are over five hundred years old so it was a special occasion for all of those involved. See a short clip below.
We hope you find our site interesting and return regularly to view progress on our restoration project via the webcam and the blog.
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