Highgate restoration:"Summoned" how much longer?

John Thorp aandj.thorp at v...
Fri Oct 8 15:14:39 BST 2004

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Below is more detail to back up my article / letter on p 987 of this week's=
Ringing World - with apologies to those who will now have seen this appeal=
at least 2 times if not 3 or 4!
John Thorp.
27 Coldfall Avenue, London N10 1HS. Tel 020 8883 7905.

To bellringers (past & present) at St Anne's Highgate and friends of =
the bells
27 Coldfall Avenue

London N10 1HS


Tel. 020 8883 7905

E-mail: aandj.thorp at v...


1 October 2004


Restoration of bells of St Anne's Highgate, London N6

I wrote to many of you in July 2003 to brief you on the appeals that had ju=
st been started for money to repair the fabric (primarily the roofs but in =
the case of St Anne's also the bells) at both the churches at which our loc=
al band rings. The appeal for St Martin's Gospel Oak was successful, and th=
e work on the roof there is now complete: I'm sure that the vicar, John Hay=
ward, would like me to thank those of you who contributed. I'm writing to y=
ou now to bring you up to date on where we stand on raising funds for the b=
ell restoration part of the St Anne's appeal.


The need for the bells to be restored

Apart from two pieces of first aid by local ringers and the Middlesex Assoc=
iation of Church Bell Ringers in the past 20 years (most recently in 1992, =
financed by a generous gift from the family of Dr Caroline Deys), very litt=
le has been done since the peal of 8 bells was installed 151 years ago. Rep=
orts from four bell-hanging firms confirm that a comprehensive restoration =
is overdue. In particular, the (plain) bearings are very worn and noisy, th=
e bells are indented where the clappers strike and are in danger of being c=
racked by the expansion of the rusting iron clapper-staples, and the clappe=
rs too are flattened with wear and in at least one case delaminating.


Work proposed

(For bell hangers' estimates) Clean and tune the bells (including removal o=
f iron cast-in staples and installation of independent staples for the clap=
pers), re-hang them (quarter-turned) with ball-bearings and other new fitti=
ngs, in the existing frame; tighten and paint the bellframe. (Necessary or =
desirable ancillary work) Insertion of lifting beams & ladder through frame=
, opening of hatches, lighting; prevention of present rain ingress; repair =
of ringing chamber ceiling (including removal of sawdust filling to avoid f=
ire risk); improvement of existing sound control, by enabling the upper par=
t of the present boarding to be opened to channel sound upwards, away from =
immediate neighbours so that it spreads over a wider area, and to reduce th=
e sound in the ringing chamber; removal of disused chiming frame; possible =
welding of one or more bells if found to be cracked.[1]


Estimated cost of work, and funds raised so far


The 4 quotations received for the bell-hangers' work are =A332,137, =A333,=
150, =A333,193 and =A345,742 (all including VAT, and including discounts f=
or use of the voluntary labour that we shall be able to supply from our own=
band and other members of the Middlesex Association). Subject to further c=
onsultation, particularly with the Diocesan Bell Adviser, we intend to acce=
pt the cheapest of these estimates. Including the ancillary work listed abo=
ve and allowing for some inflation in the original estimate (which will exp=
ire before we have a Faculty and can thus commission the work), we are budg=
eting =A340,000 for the whole bell restoration project. So far we have =A31=
7,430 available (=A315,000 from the Middlesex Association, =A3800 from the =
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers' Bell Restoration Fund, =A3630 in St=
Anne's Bell Fund from past donations and wedding fees, and =A31000 from pr=
omised personal donations). Although the Parochial Church Council is, under=
standably, giving priority to the roof and the other structural work descri=
bed in the next section, at its meeting on 9 December 2003 it affirmed its =
commitment to the restoration of the bells as a significant part of the ove=
rall restoration of the church; some funds should therefore be available ev=
entually from the church's general fund-raising effort to help bridge this =
=A322,570 gap in finance for the bell project. Meanwhile I am working to ra=
ise further funds explicitly for the bell project from other grants, eg fro=
m the Sharpe Trustees (who manage a legacy devoted to the restoration of ch=
urch bells), the Mercers' Company (who have a historical link with Highgate=
and church bells via their 3-times Master, Dick Whittington), charities or=
companies linked with the bells' original donor, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, =
and with Sir John Betjeman - who was baptized in St Anne's and mentions "th=
e bells from sad St Anne's" in his poetry, appeals to individual ringers vi=
a the Ringing World, the Middlesex Bell News and this letter, and to Highga=
te area residents via the autumn issue of Buzz. Any suggestions for other p=
otentially fertile areas that we could try, or questions about the plans th=
at I have outlined above, are welcome.


Wider background of St Anne's restoration

The restoration of the bells is part of a larger project for the restoratio=
n of the church (a Grade 2 Listed Building) involving the roof, the organ, =
the vestry, provision of community space and better facilities for the chil=
dren, and disabled access. This larger project (including the bells) was in=
itially assessed at =A3380,000. Between May 2003 (when an appeal was launch=
ed) and end 2003, =A350,000 was raised for the overall project. An applicat=
ion was submitted to English Heritage for a grant of =A3160,000 for the res=
toration of the roof. In response, EH awarded =A3117,000 in February 2004 f=
or a reduced project excluding the porches and vestry, thus reducing the co=
st of the overall present project provisionally to =A3335,000. Applications=
are being made to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, the Garfield W=
eston Foundation, the Edmonton Area Pastoral Committee of the Diocese of Lo=
ndon and, subject to preliminary discussions, Marshall's Charity. In additi=
on, the Parochial Church Council has set a target of =A327,000 from fundrai=
sing events (social events, sponsored walks, concerts etc) in 2004. If all =
of these hit their targets, St Anne's will - allowing for drawing down the =
church's existing reserves - be =A317,000 short, at the end of 2004, of the=
total needed for the overall restoration (including the bells). It is hope=
d that this can be made up through other grants (eg any from the sources me=
ntioned above for the bells), personal donations and further fundraising ev=
ents in 2005.



So gifts, large or small, for the bell restoration will be very welcome. Ch=
eques, to "St Anne's Highgate PCC", can be sent to me; please include - if =
appropriate - a signed statement that "I am a UK taxpayer and want the PCC =
to treat my donation as Gift Aid". If you want your donation to be anonymou=
s from me, please send it to the vicar, Rev Andrew Meldrum, 106 Highgate We=
st Hill, London N6 6AP; say that it is for the bell part of the overall res=
toration, if this is your wish.


I shall be away from 26 November till 8 February (visiting friends and rela=
tives in Australia), and not dealing with correspondence in that period. I =
am hoping that we can raise sufficient money before then to make the vicar =
and the Parochial Church Council confident enough to place a firm order wit=
h the bellhanger. The bellhanger probably has a 9-month order book, so we n=
eed to place an order soon in order to avoid the risk of losing a grant (fr=
om the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers) that expires if the work is =
not begun by March 2006.


John Thorp


[1] A fuller description of the proposed work is in my paper of 12 March 20=
04, which I can supply to anyone who is interested in it.
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