Thursday 23rd June was the beginning of the rebuild phase of our project. The first three bells; 6b, 9# and Tenor (Somerset Bell) were cast at Loughborough. A coach with ringers, vicar, members of St. Mary's congregation and the Mayor of Taunton Deane were given a conducted tour of the Museum and foundry works before the casting. The ringers then spent 45 mins. on the foundry bells. The other bells will be cast over the next two months.
The Old Bells Group outside the Museum
An early start saw the lorry loaded by mid-morning, the last bell being the 11th (Bilbie) oldest and arguably the best, which may end up in Australia. Finally the electric hoist was lowered on double chain blocks and all equipment repacked on the Foundry van. Another van load of nuts, bolts and grillage iron went to the scrap yard before lunch. Plywood & Chipboard (used to protect the floor and Angel doors) was stored in the Vicarage garage for future use and a good vacuum saw the West entrance ready for public use again on Saturday morning.
Another phase of the project has come to a successful conclusion (with only the loss of one mug of tea & the broken mug!).
Last five side frames unbolted and left on a string of chain blocks before mid-morning drinks. Only one strop and chain block left at 5pm (to lower the electric hoist tomorrow) before the group photo; then a few items from the middle chamber, 3 X small base girders, a couple of dumpy bags with tools, strops and the last of the nuts & bolts.
The photos tell most of todays story. 12 bells (all that were down) and some side frames made the first load by 12.30pm. During the day some smaller items arrived on the floor and by 6pm the last three were also down. Early evening came confirmation that the load had arrived safely at Loughborough.
Almost as predicted, 7 frames and a bell (7th), also the old carillon compresser and one clock mounting frame; the tower base is now FULL. Lorry planned for tomorrow to make room for the last three. 10th is next, already lifted to remove side frame (photo below taken before this was done) followed by 8th on the left and finally the 11th. After clearing the belfry and middle chambers, a second lorry will clear up on Friday. One nut finally beat us today and was ground off, most were quite easy but some needed the piece of pipe!