If you’ve seen the Pics of the Week for Week 19, you’ll have noticed that the bell has been re-placed back on the bell tower.
If you’re a fan of seeing 225kg bells being hoisted up by giant cranes, you’re in for a treat, as our resident photographer (Dave Clark from John Turner Construction Ltd) was on hand to record the event for posterity. Thanks Dave.
On Monday (3rd March), the Bellcote Tower (including the bell) was lifted back up and put back in it’s original position. The stonework had been repaired and the stone restraint straps had been fully replaced due to corrosion and bolted in with stainless steel rods.
You may not be aware that the bell has had an adventure or two over the past few months. Over the New Year, a local scrap metal enthusiast with an eye for a bargin climbed the scaffolding outside the church and managed to shove the giant bell over the edge. You can tell from the photos (which I took the next morning) that it took out a fair bit of the scaffolding on it’s speedy journey to the ground below.
Thankfully the bell landed in the soft grass and, whilst it left a heck of a dent in the ground, the bell itself was fine.
It probably would have been lost forever, had not one eagle eyed local resident witnessed the caper and then tipped me off about the scheme. The bell had been sold immediately for scrap in St Helens (a cunning ploy given that it meant Cheshire Police would have to talk to Merseyside Police to get it back), but following a further tip off about the best business at which one could sell recently obtained (and difficult to explain) scrap, we journeyed into St Helens. You can imagine our delight that the very same business (the first one we we visited) had, that very same day, purchased a 225kg bell matching the description of ours.
So the bell came back home to St Marie’s and now has improved conditions to live in.
Everyone wins (except perhaps the scrap merchant and the bloke that sold the bell).