The Bells Project - what happened to the bells in 2015?
The Ringers had a party on New Year'e Eve 2014, and the bells were rung for the last time before the work started. The tower and wooden bell frame were strengthened with steel girders and 2 new bells were added, augmenting the bells to a Royal Ring of 10. The project was ably led by our project manager, Trevor Still.
Here is a photo diary of what went on..
Two local artists generously gave up their time to mark this historical project, with some artwork.
Simon Mellor produced some beautiful sketches of the bells being lowered, recording the event with a series of pen and ink, and charcoal drawings.
Anneliese Appleby created a design of the bells and the Great Malvern skyline, to make a striking tea towel. Both the tea towels and post cards can be purchased in The Priory shop.
The New Bells at Whitechapel Foundry, London
"Group photo" - some of the band, Dec 31 2014; "Looking down" - The first photo on the time lapse camera in the tower Jan 31 2014, before the Foundry arrive in February to dismantle the bells.
The bells came down on Tuesday 10 February. Thanks to David, Geoff, Tony and Cynthia for the photos and video clip :)
Feb 12th 2015: The bells were hoisted onto the lorry and taken to Whitchapel in London to be retuned. They will return, with the two new bells later in the year.
Whitechapel Visit to see our bells: 16th May 2015
Established in 1570, stepping into the Bell Foundry in East London, was like stepping back in time!The mould for the bell is made with cast iron and then packed with loam, which is sand and clay, bound together with horse manure and goat’s hair. Above shows where the loam is made, and the buckets of ingredients.
Alan Hughes, the family owner of the business, waves around a flat bell template, which is rotated round, to make the template 3D. The actual bell template for Big Ben is hanging up on the wall at the back. (on the left hand side ).We saw the Malvern Priory bells laid out on the floor, including the two new bells, which were cast several months ago. Some of our bells are being retuned – the photos show the Priory Bells being tuned. Tuning is done very carefully, shaving bits of metal away on the inside, to change its shape and pitch. Each bell has at least 5 notes- the high nominal note (which is the main note we hear); an octave lower; another octave lower (called the the hum note, which lasts the longest); a minor third; and a fifth.
After tuning, during which the bell’s pitch is fixed, the bell is tapped all over to find its “voice” – the best place for the clapper to hit, to get the best tone.
In the carpentry room we saw the Priory oak wheels stacked up, waiting for their circumferences to be added. The bell ropes will wind around these wheels to swing the bells.
Our thanks to Peter Babb who organised this trip, which raised several hundred pounds for the bell funds, through the ticket sales for the trip.
6 Feb 2016: the first quarter peal on the bells! Trevor Still, project manager (5th from the left ), was one of the Priory Ringers who took part. He has done a huge amount of work, leading this project.
Sponsored 1/4 peals: You can sponsor us to ring a quarter peal for an Evensong service, now that the bells are back! It's the perfect way to mark a special occasion. It's quite tricky to ring a quarter peal and if we don't succeed we'll try again for another Evensong. To succeed we have to ring around 1260 changes which last around 45 minutes and we need to end up in rounds at the end. Details of the successful 1/4 peal will be published in "The Ringing World" magazine (yes, we do have one!) and also online at http://www.ringingworld.co.uk, along with the reason for the quarter peal. To arrange a quarter peal please give us the details, and make an online donation (Suggested minimum £100) to our Tower Fund
This video was taken in Feb 2013 before the bell project, and shows the wooden bellframe moving in and out of the tower by 5-10mm. Steel girders were added across the inside of the tower to strengthen it and stops the frame moving in and out of the wall.
Jane James, Priory Ringer
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Details of the sponsor and the 1/4 peal.