[Bell Historians] Re: Radial Frames

edward martin edward.w.martin at KqLfIcAqDXNEzyzYRuSLc-zxUP99HwEIxxr-E-Fhc_fBIUXgYlICHfKDvxbtcMkdq5MMzpy8HDr8PHfC-JJsPg.yahoo.invalid
Tue Dec 26 14:24:18 GMT 2006

I ring at the Washington National Cathedral & have done since September 1971
when I came here from Leicestershire.

Two or three years ago there was great excitement when we learned that there
was 'talk' of augmenting the existing 10 bells to 12 maybe even with an
extra flat 6th to allow for a variety of eights within the full ring. Many
of our potential new recruits are teenage girls and a choice of lighter
eights would have been just the ticket (turning the current tenor in to
Double Norwich is always a bit of a challenge even for us older folk)

I never actually saw any plans that had been drawn up,even though Richard,
I am an upright citizen- albeit with a slight stoop and noticeable limp
:-)   but I was told that they were considering opening up the radial frame
to allow for the extra bells. There's certainly room for this because at
present they stand on a slightly elevated block of concrete with a clearance
around the perimeter of a couple of feet or so, even then, there is in
addition, a similar amount of walk-around space. Apparently the scheme had
got as far as having structural engineers study the problems & coming
forward with feasible solutions. One of the problems that I had wondered
about was what they would do with each bell as it was removed from its pit
(I suppose 'pit' is the technical term even though the frame is all at
'ground level' so to speak). When the bells were installed, there was a
gigantic crane set up which lowered all the bells through the roof of the

Unfortunately the scheme seems to have been put on a back burner while the
Cathedral spends a great deal of money excavating and building an
underground car park. But we live in hope.


On 25/12/06, Richard Offen <richard.offen at WHcSKZ_ItbY58GuBkkq1pQaHrQ3aENP5DAogKOkOj02O6T1-7Rf2QL5EYZRqR4OAGpD6e9lKHlF04cFg6TOPt_Q.yahoo.invalid> wrote:
> --- In bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com, "David Bryant" <davidbryant at ...>
> wrote:
> >
> > > Was Liverpool Anglican Cathedral the first?
> >
> > I believe Liverpool was the first, and so far as I am aware it is the
> only
> > one (and indeed the only bell frame anywhere) to be made entirely of
> > concrete - other radial frames, such as Washington Cathedral, consist of
> > steel or iron framesides and joining plates on a concrete foundation.
> Liverpool was indeed the first radial frame, the notion for the design
> being one of Douglas Hughes' and was designed in the 1930s, but not carried
> out until after WWII.
> > Standard radial frames (in so far as there can be a standard, there
> being
> > so few of them) are of the lowside type in that the bearings are mounted
> on
> > the top members of the frameside units. In order to add another tier, it
> > would be necessary to replace these with H-type units so that a further
> > lowside tier could be constructed on top.
> Why do you need to have 'H' pattern framesides?   There are other ways of
> builing up a second tier using structural steel - as can been seen in many
> towers with conventional bell frames (see flat sixth at St Chad's Shrewsbury
> for instance).
> It would probably also be
> > necessary to brace the upper tier down to the floor of the walls in some
> > way. Whilst this might work, it wouldn't be a very elegant design and
> would
> > pose difficulties in getting a decent circle, thereby obviating one of
> the
> > main advantages of a radial frame.
> What about putting the wheel on the opposite side of the upper bell to the
> one below?   Still maintains the perfect circle!
> The main advantage of a radial frame is not only the elegant rope circle,
> but also that it minimises the effect of the horizontal forces on the
> tower generated by the bells.
> I suppose it might also be possible to
> > construct individual lowside metal frames next to or within the radial
> > frame, but again this would be a very messy solution. I believe that
> there
> > was consideration given to augmenting the bells at Washington cathedral
> to
> > 12 plus a flat 6th, involving completely dismantling the frame and
> enlarging
> > it (the joining plates would presumably all need to be replaced as the
> > angles would be wrong). I don't know whether this plan is still under
> > consideration - I believe we have at least one Washington ringer on this
> > list who will doubtless know.
> Yes, the plan is to reassemble the Washington frame with different angled
> spacer plates between the pits to facilitate the addition of two trebles (as
> far as I am aware Alan, there are no plans to change the concrete
> substructure to facilitate this).   However the flat sixth and extra treble
> are to be hung in conventional frames inside the circle of the radial
> frame.
> Why do you consider this to be so messy David?   The plans I saw looked
> very neat and workmanlike!
> >
> > Basically, radial frames are only a good idea if the bells are never
> likely
> > to be augmented - in practice this generally means that unless the ring
> is
> > of 12, and either has at least one semitone or is very light, a radial
> frame
> > may not be the best answer (unless empty pits are left), as it could
> > preclude or at least make very difficult any future augmentation.
> Provided there is enough space in the tower, it is no more difficult to
> change a radial frame than it is to redesign many conventional frames to
> accommodate extra bells.
> Richard
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