Cathedral bells returned home
On Thursday 3rd December, the original bells of the Cathedral were returned home to the Cathedral bell tower.
Originally produced at Whitechapel Foundry, London, UK, more than 150 years ago, the two bells were removed in August 2013 in the early stage of the restoration process.
During the review of works required to restore the tower, it was discovered that they were both damaged and in need of repair. The bells were sent back to where they were originally cast, the Whitechapel Foundry where the headstock and ringing mechanisms were reconstructed and cracks repaired.
In preparation for the bells to be returned to their rightful place, the bell tower roof was removed as well as ladder beams that have been supporting the scaffolding during its restoration.
Ron Lodewijks from Stone Restorations said that the operation to replace the bells is complex, given the size, weight and destination of the bells.
“The bells were lifted directly from crates by crane and placed to rest on the massive timber beams within the tower”, explained Ron. “They were then permanently fixed to the beams and the original mechanisms will be reconstructed, ready for the bells to ring properly for the first time in decades”.
Preparations are now underway to allow the bells to be fully rung for the first time in decades on Sunday 13th December, when Bishop Michael McKenna will bless the tower and opens a Door of Mercy in the Cathedral at the 10.00am Mass.