[Bell Historians] Hackney, London, St Augustine, clock bell

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at fFcoWV1FKpkAYdoZgPCQcELjLGv148A8H03Uxqyihcuc8gimTr6FdjFxRPZ8ucGZhuuHNThdYsSd4opQ.yahoo.invalid
Tue Feb 21 02:12:47 GMT 2012

While I don't have a great deal of experience in British belfries, I must say that this is the first instance I've seen of a frame style that is more common on my side of the pond, at least around St.Louis.  That is a trapezoidal timber frame in a masonry tower, with only the bottom ends of the corner posts touching the structure.

The instances I've found in towers around Saint Louis date from the 1850s to 1890s, and in every case they carry multiple bells hung for swing-chiming (or slow swinging?).  While they are tall enough to put the bells above the base of the belfry openings, I theorize that their primary purpose was to absorb much (or all) of the horizontal thrust of the swinging bells so as not to transmit that to the tower structure.  Indeed, such frames are used for the two heaviest peals in the city - one of 4 bells and one of 5, with their tenors being perhaps the two heaviest bells in this state (about 3 tons each).  Both of these frames are two-level, with the heavy bell on the lower level and the others on the upper level, all mounted in the usual pairs of cast iron A-supports standing on "floors" across the main frame.  One frame was made in 1881, the other in 1893.

A much older frame (1853) of similar type has 3 bell pits in a row, side by side, with plain bearing blocks let into horizontal timbers.  There are straight (not diagonal) braces in the sides of the frame below the bell pits, but nothing where the bases of the corner posts stand on plinths in the corners of the tower.

Of course such frames would be totally inappropriate for bells hung to swing full circle, where the lateral forces would be very much greater.  But were such bell frames used for other types of bells in the British Isles, perhaps at a similar period of history?


--- On Mon, 2/20/12, Chris Pickford <c.j.pickford.t21 at zKs78g_6kJ3YkdiMxWX_HIP4DJnNQ2gf8jlEv0IiM7qr_BTUMtibO7ayl0NWBHsZ901pa81Oi3WPm0GEh1k54fVLRzuymbR5.yahoo.invalid> wrote:

From: Chris Pickford <c.j.pickford.t21 at zKs78g_6kJ3YkdiMxWX_HIP4DJnNQ2gf8jlEv0IiM7qr_BTUMtibO7ayl0NWBHsZ901pa81Oi3WPm0GEh1k54fVLRzuymbR5.yahoo.invalid>
Subject: RE: [Bell Historians] Hackney, London, St Augustine, clock bell
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Date: Monday, February 20, 2012, 5:01 PM


Some gleanings on the above:  Letter from L.B.J. Huntley (Secretary of the St.John at Hackney ringers) in Ringing World 3 Jan.1964 p.4 gives details of the bell in “The Old Clock Tower, Hackney” [the old church?] – bell 27” on a wooden headstock in a wooden frame. Bell inscribed J. WARNER & SON. CRESCENT FOUNDRY, LONDON, 1857. with (Royal Coat of Arms) and PATENT on the waist  Photographs of clock and bell supplied to CJP by David Mander (formerly Hackney Borough archivist, May 2006) – single clock bell in four-legged tower frame at level of belfry windows, hung deal from wooden deadstock and sounded by the clock [so evidently no old bellframe]. Clock in birdcage frame with knob finals and two trains end-to-end – evidently C17th or older. David says there is documentary evidence of a new clock in the C17th. Clock evidently much altered, but in original frame  Chris Pickford 


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