Saturday saw another step towards the completion of our augmentation project. Our volunteers spent a full day in the tower with the intention of getting the bells up into their pits. Unfortunately, a bit of a hiccup in the repair of the broken frame side meant that it wasn’t ready for the weekend, so the amount of work that could be done was limited.
First, attention was given to the new treble pit. A new section of beam was to be installed first. A section of wall was removed to allow the beam to be anchored into the brickwork. As we did so, it revealed the end of a beam running the full width of the tower. During the clean down and restoration of the frame, we could not find any evidence of paint or preservation of the steel work, so considered that there probably hadn’t been any! However, the reveal of the beautifully preserved beam end, which has been protected from the weather embedded in the wall for 65 years, showed that the beams at least were painted up with black paint.
The new beam section was put in place and propped up with with wood and the brand new frame side (which was hoisted up in June!) could now finally be put in place. Once secured, the new treble was lifted in to its new home and bolted in place. The hole in the wall was then filled with concrete to complete the installation of the beam. There are still some braces to be installed around the new treble area to reinforce the the frame and control the additional forces that will be exerted when the bells are rung full circle.
Next, attention was turned to the new heavy tenor. The tenor’s pit was already in place, so the operation was much more straightforward. Additional acrow props were put in place underneath the lifting beam to reduce the span of the load. The tenor slowly made its way up to the bell-chamber and a second chain block helped to manoeuvre it to its new home at the back of the tower.
There are still two bells in the intermediate chamber waiting to be hoisted up, but it’s exciting to see that two thirds of the bells are now more or less in their final positions!