[Bell Historians] Redundant churches for sale

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Fri Dec 10 12:29:18 GMT 2004

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I well remember the shock we all got when St Mary's was closed. As DrL says=
, there are certain safeguards in place regarding St Mary's bells and the v=
irturally detached Victoria Tower. I am not quite sure though how legally b=
inding those safeguards are!

Having closed St Mary's, they then closed St Paul's, a rather frightening n=
eo-Norman structure beside the od A2. Can't remember where the bell went, a=
nd I have no file on it. They then turned their attention to Christ Church =
in the Luton district of Chatham, a typically grand Victorian pile with a t=
ower of 1926, all of which was supposed to be collapsing. I visited at the =
request of the Diocese in the early 1980's and found the latest and most me=
chanically complex Harrington tubular chime I had ever encountered as well =
as a small T Mears bell of execrable tone from the previous church. The con=
gregation were worshipping in the hideous brick gothic conventicle on the o=
ther side of the road and the plan was to build a united church on the Chri=
st Church site. Maybe it was done.

Then there is (or was) All Saints, with five dismantled tubes in a frame fo=
r eight and a small brassfoundry bell of still more execrable tone than the=
Christ Church one! The tower was of 1937, I think the tubes must have been=
earlier, though I am not quite sure when Harrington's finally packed up. I=
f list members have got this far, does anyone know a say post 1925 English =
tubular installation?=20

St John's - a gloomy classical edifice by Smirke in Railway Street, near th=
e Station does have a tower which would take a lightish ring. It was to be =
the Parish Church (indeed it became such) with all sorts of facilities whic=
h could be put in a building like this. In my report to the CCC I suggested=
that in the event of redundancy and demolition or the church being put to =
a use for which bells were not appropriate, the KCACR was the appropriate b=
ody to handle the case satisfactorily.

I suppose that the answer to David's question is simply that St Mary's was =
vandalised (involving the destruction of the magnificent organ); subsequent=
ly it was stripped out to become the Medway Heritage Centre (a role it very=
satisfactorily fulfilled for a long time) and is now empty. There is a lot=
of new housing etc nearby (which doesn't necessarily guarantee congregatio=
ns) - but it is a grand church on an historic site, and one is left feeling=
that its initial closure was premature and ill-advised, and subsequent act=
ivity has left the situation irreversible.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: David Bryant=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 7:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Redundant churches for sale

> The whole business of making one church at Chatham was a complete balls=
> as it emerged that the wrong church was chosen! Now they are both redun=

As both are empty, why didn't they reopen the right one when they realise=
d they'd made a balls up? On the other hand, given that Chatham is reckoned=
to be the origin of the Chav movement which is filling towns and cities ac=
ross the land with brainless, burberry-hatted, tracksuited loudmouths it's =
not hard to believe that the town has no use for a church.



Whatever you Wanadoo:

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