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Two more frames and then 4, 3, 2, and Treble. The small ones done, now come the problems. Yes, we were not expecting it all to easy, it's like building a complicated piece of machinery only in reverse WITHOUT a blueprint. Saturday a day off! Not quite it's our Branch outing, so back to pulling ropes not chains.
Today finished on a high note with bells 5 and 6 successfully lowered to the base of the tower. The 6th was the first to arrive – at 1522, just in time for the Mothers’ Union, who had finished their meeting, to watch. The 5th followed an hour later and finally one side frame.
This was the culmination of a day spent preparing lifting gear, and erecting lifting beams. The latter required some delicate footwork along the top of the old bell frame armed with two large planks from which to suspend one of the chain hoists.
Tomorrow is likely to be lowering more of the small bells (maybe the 7th) & more side frames.
It is all rather like a giant and rather tricky sliding puzzle.
Great excitement, the bell hanger from John Taylor and Co arrived today to start the process of taking out the old bells. A local team of four was on hand to help unload a very full van into the fenced off area at the base of the tower.
The hoists, slings and safety rails have all been taken up the tower and the safety rails are in place round where the trapdoors and planks will be removed to allow the bells to be lowered.
The trickiest job was removing the round and heavy trapdoor in the ringing room floor, which had to be raised then slid sideways towards the fan vaulting, using 2 people despatched under the floorboards.
After the wood came metal and pipe; brackets, grillage, clappers and the nuts & bolts (around 400 and many more to go). The Rope Gang over the roof was busy again. The scrap yard did give us a small cheque for our funds (most of it for the copper!). Another member of St. Mary's congregation was busy with a camera and (with a few added from other sources) has made a picture show which can be found at https://vimeo.com/163270885 .
We then decided the Belfry floor need a cleanup. A gentle scrape with a dustpan (careful not to stir up the dust) then with a Dyson; emptied 6 times! Does this eqate to one for each 15 years since the last time it was clean?