SUSSEX CHURCHES BELL RESTORATION FUND
Registered Charity No. 268588
Report for the year ending 31st December 2014
Monday 13th January saw work commence at St. Mary, Balcombe, where Mike Cattell, David Cragg and myself, were the volunteer labour force. Whitechapel Bell Foundry had the contract to completely overhaul the clapper assemblies, fit new sliders, runner boards, pulley blocks and bearings. Everything was removed that day, and measurements for the new bearings were taken. The middle of February saw the bells being lifted in turn to fit the new bearings, and to start fitting the runner boards and pulley blocks. All was going well until one of the gudgeon pins was found to be loose in the number 3 headstock. This of course meant that the headstock had to go back to Whitechapel for repair.
The headstock was returned in the middle of March when Alan Seymour was able to assist with its replacement. This saw the work completed, and we paid our promised grant of £3,000 to the PCC.
Nicholson Engineering were the contractors for the project at St. Mary the Virgin, Warbleton, where the work required was the same as that at Balcombe, but with the addition of replacing all the gudgeon pins in the headstocks. The start of September saw the work commence, and the bells were ringing again in the middle of October. John Day headed up the volunteer workforce, and the BRF has now paid the promised grant of £5,000 to the PCC.
At a BRF committee meeting in 2012, it had been decided to offer a grant to Holy Trinity Church, Duncton, near Petworth. This offer lapsed when its validity period expired in September. An inspection was then carried out by Whitechapel Bell Foundry, and it was suggested that the remains of the half wheel could be restored enabling the bell to be swing chimed. This bell is third earliest dated bell in England, cast in 1360. As the fittings are all in a poor condition the old ironwork supporting the bell is to be reproduced on a new headstock running on new bearings. This project was favoured by the PCC, and the BRF received a second grant application which was discussed, and we have now offered a grant of £1,200 to the PCC. It is hoped that this work will start in March 2015.
During the year, we have held 2 committee meetings. As well as discussing Duncton, we have also had applications for assistance from St. Nicholas, Arundel, and St. Mary, Hailsham.
At Arundel, all the bearings are to be replaced, along with all the pulley blocks and sliders. The clappers will be completely overhauled and fitted with stainless steel hinge pins running in tufnell bushes. Whitechapel Bell Foundry is the preferred contractor for the project, and the BRF committee have offered a grant of £3,500 to the PCC. It is hoped this work will start in January 2015. Whilst the bells are out of action, the local ringers intend to make good use of the time, and paint the frame.
Nicholson Engineering is to undertake the work at Hailsham. Here the work will comprise of overhauling all the clapper assemblies, the same as at Arundel, but to also adjust two of the clapper staples to make the clapper throws correct. Some of the pulley blocks will be replaced, and all the bearings will be cleaned and re-greased. Two of the bells will have different thickness insulation pads fitted to enable those bells to have the correct hanging radii. The BRF have offered a grant of £3,500 to assist with the cost of the work.
Download the report here: BRF_Report_2014.pdf
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