138-year-old Eastbourne church bells to be updated
The 138-year-old bells of All Saints’ Church, Grange Road, are being removed from the bell tower for long-awaited refurbishment to keep them ringing tunefully and safely.
Other than new ball bearings installed in 1929 by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a new clapper for the tenor bell in 1982, the replacement of broken stays, new bell ropes from time to time and routine maintenance, no significant or major work has been undertaken on these bells.
Expert advice received 15 years ago, when the bells began to be rung regularly by a new band of ringers, had indicated that major work would be needed over the next few years.
As most of the bell fittings have become very worn and have outlived their usefulness, they will be replaced with new modern design fittings during the restoration.
All eight bells will be taken out of the tower and transported to the bell hanger’s workshops, where they will be fitted with new headstock, clappers, bearings, wheels, and stays.
The bells themselves will also be re-tuned.
The newly restored and tuned bells, together with all new fittings, are set to be brought back to the tower in July, 2021.
A service of dedication of the bells is planned for Sunday, August 8, to coincide with the 138th anniversary of the first ringing of the bells in 1883.
Bell ringer Philip Pawley said, “The preservation of bells cast 138 years ago with their inscriptions and timeless sound is an important responsibility for maintaining our heritage for future generations.
“The refurbishment project will provide an opportunity to improve the sound and handling of the bells. This, in turn, will attract learner ringers and retain experienced ringers for All Saints’, as well as becoming a tower which visiting bands of ringers would love to visit.”