£56k bells revamp starts

Peter Thomson, part of the bell restoration project team starting  work in the tower at St Joseph's Church, Ansdell
Peter Thomson, part of the bell restoration project team starting work in the tower at St Joseph's Church, Ansdell
  • £56,000 project to revamp 100-year-old bells
  • Fund-raising drive last year, which saw churchgoers donate £35,000 to the scheme
  • Extra support from the Diocese of Lancaster trustees
  • Cash raised has come from a variety of sources, with the bulk of money from private donations
  • The historic peal of eight bells were cast by Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1908, and installed in the tower in 1911 at a cost of £800

A £56,000 project to revamp 100-year-old bells at a Fylde church is underway after work started on removing historic chiming equipment.

The bells at St Joseph’s Church in Ansdell tolled for the last time earlier this month, as work began on replacing parts.

The bells are scheduled to be reinstalled in late August

The project came about following an ambitious fund-raising drive last year, which saw churchgoers donate £35,000 to the scheme.

The cash was raised in weeks, qualifying for extra support from the Diocese of Lancaster trustees, who supported the project.

Edwina Gillett, part of the church bell restoration appeal committee, said: “The bells at St Joseph’s rang for the last time on March 1 before work began on the bell restoration project. The first stage of the project involved the de-coupling of the clappers and associated parts, in readiness for the bells being lowered and transported to the bell foundry during April and May.

“The bells are scheduled to be reinstalled in late August.”

The cash raised has come from a variety of sources, with the bulk of money from private donations, as well as a grant from the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers and a donation from the Fylde Branch of Change Ringers.

The Girls Choir from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral visited the church last year for an evening of singing to help raise cash, with other funding avenues coming from a barbecue and nine-year-old Liberty Doyle, who raised £350 by taking part in the Green Drive Mile run in October.

The historic peal of eight bells were cast by Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1908, and installed in the tower in 1911 at a cost of £800.

The updated work includes the installation of an angelus tolling unit, which will allow the bells to sound automatically at noon each day, without requiring the help of bellringers to do so.

The project will involve a thorough clean of the bell chamber, replacement of parts and removal of bells from the bell chamber and transportation to a bell foundry for cleaning and re-tuning.

The complete re-installation of the bell will involve new ringing ropes, as well as the angelus tolling unit.