Bells Restoration - Commenced 10 January 1994
An account of the operation to remove the bells of St Mary's Church from the bell tower to restore the six bells to 'near perfect' condition; using just a small selection of the photographs taken and captioned by Stella Radcliffe.
Click on a picture for a more detailed image.
Plaque detailing weight and casting dates of bells. This is a lay person's account of the operation to remove the bells of St Mary's Church, Burton Bradstock, from the bell tower in order to restore the six bells to 'near perfect' condition. The work commenced with the removal started on Monday the 10th January 1994. Andrew Nicholson & Martin Lloyd Arrive to commence removal of the bells. View of the tap door through which the bells will finally reach the floor of the church. Sequence of shots covers the lowering of the final bell I was so surprised on my arrival at the Church to see that bells had already been lowered through three floors to the central tower. This poster caught my eye as I left the Church. It brought back the following memory. On returning home to Burton Mill one day last summer, I was so thrilled, albeit very concerned, at seeing a bat on the ground outside our garage door near the entrance to the Mill. As you can see, this very brave little creature was definitely prepared to defend itself. I encouraged it towards the wall of the Mill and it was very difficult for the bat to cover the ground. It just had to scrabble its way along. Yes, it did 'make it' and in no time at all it had scaled the wall, set itself up and away it went. The contrast between the helplessness on the ground and its fantastic command of the air was really something to behold. It was one of those magic moments in life that just happens out of the blue and leaves you with a treasure memory. Two bells had already been moved up the aisle and 'parked' close by the Font awaiting their turn to be wheeled out of the Church. Wednesday: 12th January 1994. It was 1.00 pm when I arrived at St Mary's Church and all but one of the remaining bells had been lowered. This is the sight that greeted me in the North Porch. Mrs. Sue McDougal with two of the bells. Shortly after this snap was taken she very kindly invited me into the Rectory for a cup of tea to warm me up. It was a pretty dreary, chill day and I had got thoroughly cold. Such a very kind thought and a most welcome treat. "Thank you!" Sue. Easy does it - Andrew carefully manoeuvre the first bell to the gateway. Mr. David Powell, Headteacheer of Burton Bradstock Primary School captures a photograph of both the historic bells and some of his pupils. This, as you can see, is a very tricky operation because the jib of the hydraulic hoist has to pass beneath the metal arch. Up, up and away This gentleman should feel very proud of his skill and effort. Friday: 4th March 1994 - WELCOME HOME
Mr. Harold Percy kindly advised me that the church bells would be returning 'home' to-day during the late afternoon. Rather like the day they left for their refurbishment it was again a dull, chill and dreary day with poor light in the afternoon so bear with me with the following rather murky snaps. I arrived at St. Mary's Church just after 5.00 pm and I could hardly believe what I was seeing. There, in the distance, sat five splendid bells awaiting their return to the Bell Tower. They looked simply magnificent.
Andrew and his helpmate tackle the tricky task of wheeling one of the bells back into the church. "Goodnight Bells - I will pay you another visit in the morning". All is peaceful as I leave the confines of the church to head for home.