St Margarets Church Ipswich
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Refurbishing the bells and clock

Home > Heritage > Background to the Bells and Heritage Project > Refurbishing the bells and clock

The primary aim of the project was to rectify the problems created when the bells were last re-hung in 1899, improve their tone and condition, and make the ringers visible to the congregation and visitors from a new glass fronted gallery.

We appointed our church architects, Nicholas Jacob Architects, to oversee the building works. They had successfully worked on similar projects in several other Suffolk churches and came up with an elegant scheme to address all these problems while safeguarding the historic features of the tower, in particular the fine stained glass west window and the tower clock in the old ringing chamber.  We separately approached three Bellhanging companies and selected Nicholson Engineering of Bridport, Dorset to oversee the design of the new bell frame and the refurbishment of the bells. For more information on the building project and the bells restoration click on the link.

Bell being lifted into the new frame

The retuned Tenor bell being lifted into the new bell frame

We also took the opportunity to repair and service our historic tower clock, which dates from 1788 and is one of the oldest in Ipswich.  We asked local clock specialist David Bearcroft, in photo below, to do this work. The clock had been wound by hand every week thoughout its life, but this was a heavy job and and the current winder, our Tower Captain John Girt, is well past retirement age. We therefore also asked the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to install electric winding and correction mechanisms to it. This will ensure that the clock always shows the right time and automatically makes the summer/winter hour changes. 

David Bearcroft and Tower Clock