[Bell Historians] Beccles Toweer [was Ball races]

David Cawley davidl.cawley at kwNuUzWpSek0NYMiUf_9P0hDiDWes7DX1dmo1dABzVZpZCXoek_lcKxyNcfLj7l4OW8Uw4lLFJk_BxHrKLMEi9GJAFUk5A.yahoo.invalid
Tue Jun 22 16:04:14 BST 2010

When I was Norwich DAC Bells adviser (72-77) I did an inspection of the bells, fittings and frame in the great detached tower at Beccles at the invitation of the late Ralph Bickers who maintained the bells in exemplary fashion. It was then a joy to behold. One of the few cases where I had come across the Heywood Lubricators on the John Taylor plain bearing housings being oiled up and used properly - I think that there were sponges in the 'chimneys' in place of the original wicks. There was a little thumping with some of the bells turning over, but nothing serious and I wrote: "Although the gudgeons and bearings have had intensive use for nearly seventy years, there is nothing to suggest that immediate replacement is necessary: from the point of view of the 'go' of the bells there would be little appreciable difference so long as the present level of maintenance is upheld. At the same time it would be unwise to suggest that they will go for another seventy years: certainly the bearing brasses will wear as they become increasingly oval, placing added strain on the gudgeons with consequent loosening. It may be as well to plan to renew these and other frictional parts mentioned elsewhere in time for the centenary in the next thirty years."

Quite a fair prophecy!  I do hope that it's possible to purchase new bearings and purpose-made housings compatible with the existing drillings in the Taylor frame rather than commercially available plummer blocks.

Good luck to Barry and his team.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Barry Pickup 
  To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 7:05 PM
  Subject: RE: [Bell Historians] Ball races

        Thank you all for the interesting and helpful advice. The fund-raising is in the earliest stages and this was just one of the ideas put forward. I think the idea was to find some relation between the actual cost of a bearing and the amount we could realistically ask for per bearing. This would be a rough guess on what "the market" would pay. We have actually asked for some quotes and the cost of the whole job is what Steven Stanford and others have suggested. Unfortunately the idea of a do-it-yourself job or any sort of voluntary input (apart from fund-raising) is completely out of the question as the tower and contents, including bells, are owned by the local District Council and the job will have to be channelled through them. Their insurance would not allow (and I don't think their officers would allow) the risk of letting amateurs loose on a project like this. Thank you all again for your help.


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