The last major work to be carried out on the bells of Southwark Cathedral was in 1965 when the lightest six bells were re-hung on (then) modern fittings. With regular use the fittings inevitably wear over time and it is now necessary to replace them and re-hang the bells. This will have the following benefits:
– The bells will continue to be heard for the next generation rather than being allowed to fall into disrepair
– The bells will be made physically easier to ring with modern fittings making the “go” of the bells easier.
– The bells will be made easier to get good rhythmical ringing by correcting the timing variations between the bells (known as “odd-struckness”)
– Although they will inevitably remain challenging due to their weight, fewer visiting ringers and members of the local bellringing associations will be put off by the bad go and odd-struckness (see above), so the bells will be available for more people to ring.
To achieve this, the intention is to remove the bells from the tower in order to:
– carry out tightening and strengthening work on the frame
– make alterations to some of the bells to enable them to hang in correct alignment
– make alterations to some of the bells to enable the clappers to hang straight within the bell
– re-hang the bells in the existing frame (1735 and contemporary with the bells), with all new fittings
From quotes obtained in 2009 it is anticipated that this work will cost in excess of £100,000.
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