St Stephen's Rochester Row
Noted for the grandeur of their tone, this Charles & George Mears eight (tenor 24 cwts) has served the church well for the past 165 years. Cast in 1850 they were the gift of Baroness Angela Burdett Coutts, and are much loved and cherished by ringers.
A comprehensive restoration of the ring has now been completed. The bells, bell frame and fittings were removed from the tower and taken to Loughborough. There the bells wre cleaned by gentle sandblasting, their canons were removed, and their cast-in iron crown staples were removed. Dye penetration testing was undertaken to confirm that none of the bells was cracked in the crown. A massive new cast iron and galvanised steel bellframe was constructed using “H” castings to allow all the bells to be hung on a single tier frame, and although clearances between the bells was minute, this was successfully accomplished.
All new ringing fittings were manufactured and the bells were then rehung in the tower, and rung again for the first time on Sunday 28th February. The completion of a new sound control system and the hanging of a chiming service bell in the coming weeks will complete this project.
(Photos: Steve Atkinson)