Redundant bells in Greenock

George Dawson george at
Wed Dec 6 08:53:56 GMT 2006

DOVE 3rd edition:
Greenock St George 10, 18.1.7 in F Chiming only.
Come on, use the resources available!!

-----Original Message-----
From: bellhistorians at [mailto:bellhistorians at]
On Behalf Of Robert Lewis
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 12:27 AM
To: bellhistorians at
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Redundant bells in Greenock

Below is an extract from the Greenock Telegraph's website.

Does anyone know anything about these bells and what is likely to happen to



GREENOCK’S last traditional bellringer will stand down after 70 years
service when his church shuts its doors for the last time.

The pealing of the bells every Sunday morning at St George’s North was a
labour of love for Andrew McKellar, now 93.

The church closes at the end of the month and it will be the end of an era
for both the man and the town when the bells cease to toll for worship.

Andrew, of Kelly Street, first started ringing the bells in 1936 and is now
a legend of the belfry.

He was asked to pick up the ropes when he was a member of the choir and
hasn’t looked back since.

Andrew said: “I will certainly miss it as I have been doing it for so long.

“It has been a big part of my life and it is very sad to see it go.”

In the past few years, his daughter, Elizabeth, helped him up the stairs to
the bell mechanism to let him carry on ringing.

She said: “Even if he wasn’t feeling well, he still wanted to come to the
church to ring the bells.”

Andrew was part of the team that rang the bells to celebrate the end of the
Second World War on 8 May 1945, marking victory in


In the six years of conflict, the ringing of church bells had been banned by
the wartime government.

The traditional bells and ropes, first installed in the church in 1889, are
long gone.

In later years, a keyboard has been used to peal the 10 bells.

Always dedicated to his job, Andrew recalled going up the tower to hit the
bells himself with a hammer when one stopped working.

Neighbours close to St George’s North would wake every Sunday to the sound
of hymns chiming up and down Nelson Street.

Church minister Reverend Douglas Hamilton said: “Andrew was not only
dedicated to the bells but also as an elder and a property officer. It was a
labour of love for him to serve the church.”

Now as the days of St George’s North draws to a close, Andrew is left with a
final decision ­ what to play on the last day.

He said: “I will play Highland Cathedral and Passing of the Peace, which
isn’t a hymn but a song we sing in the church.

“I don’t know yet what else I will play.”

St George’s North will close on 29 November when the Church of Scotland
congregation joins with nearby St Luke’s.

This story appeared in the Greenock Telegraph on Tue, 14 Nov, 2006


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