Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bell quest blog - note

I'm afraid that on this blog you will need to go to the end and work forward, beginning in the archive for 2006. I have not tried to outwit the blogger system this time. Hope you can follow it in the correct sequence.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


At last I have discovered someone who remembers the ringing of the bell. A lady who was at the school in the 1940s saw the recent newspaper story and I was able to speak to her. Known at the time as Thelma Sibley (now Totczyk) she remembers the bell being rung at the beginning and end of the school day. Her sister Pearl asked that the bell be rung specially for her on her 14th birthday in 1948. Thelma told me that she can hear the sound of the bell in her ears now!

All that now remains of this little tale is for me to have a sign made to place on the wall directly below the bell. It's in hand.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Further research

I thought the best way to obtain more information about the bell was through my local newspaper. Having covered the story about the school, a local reporter was pleased to take up the bell rescue tale. Time will tell if this will lead to more clues about the use of the bell during it's school years.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New home at last!

Well it's finally at its new home. Not quite as intended but it is up and it rings. I hired a diamond core drill to cut a 50mm hole in the 8 inch brick wall for the bell arm. I had intended to use all the old bolts but decided the top one was enough and fixed the remaining three parts of the frame with large screws. Recoated the frame with black metal paint but left the bell as it was, polished up with some autosol. Inside the garage it looks a bit crude. It can stay like that until I summon up the effort to paint the wooden block that acts a a large washer to secure the very long bolt which holds up the frame.
It seems a long time since I first spotted the bell. After the demolition of the building there have been a lot of enquiries about what happened to the bell. I may write a letter to my local newspaper to tell anyone interested where they can see the restored bell. But that can wait. The lawn needs mowing, and after all there are more things in life than bells. Aren't there?

The photos complete the tale of my bellquest - it was fun.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I found a local blast cleaner. All parts back to bare metal. The bell itself has come up quite well. A good rub with fine wire wool and autosol and it begins to look like what is is - an old bronze bell. Now to recoating the frame beginning with a special primer. The only mark on the bell apart from '10' on the crown is shown in the photo. No idea what it signifies - yet.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Last rites

Walking past the old school today, this was all that remained. This was the day when I finally discovered the key dates during the life of the building:

1911 Official opening of the Lymington County Primary School in Cannon Street

1972 Closure of the school after relocation to a new school in Avenue Road, Lymington.

!972 - 1990 Building used as the area Education office by Hampshire County Council.

1994 - 2003 Area Library Headquarters

2003 - 2007 Meetings and library store followed by demolition in March/April.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Too late!

The old school is still in the news! The Lymington Times report this week a last ditch attempt to stop the demolition by a legal challenge by protestors. Sadly for them their action was too late.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Some people have strong views about restoration of old items. I guess I do about really valuable items, particularly if you wish to retain or enhance its value. As far as I am concerned I make the rules based on an assessment of the advice available and my own common sense. My first priority was to have a good look at the bell. As far as I can see it is in quite good condition. A bit of rust around the frame but the bell itself looks fine. It looks as though the bell was at some time coated with a black paint. I thought it was just grime but it simply does not come off. So my approach will be to remove all dirt, rust and old paint and then re coat the lot. So after a quick clean with a power washer I had to see if I could shift all those old nuts and bolts. With just a little help from WD40 and a couple of spanners, off they all came. But After a few careful attempts I could not remove the bell from its steel bar headstock. So now here are the parts awaiting my next move which is to remove all rust and old paint. But how?

It's official!

At last the bell is officially mine. Here I am picking it up from the TAB site managers' office. After 120 years the bell is on its way to a new home in Sway where it can be seen awaiting some tender loving care.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bell Tower for sale

The old school must once have had another bell in a separate bell tower which can be seen in previous photos. A lady offered to buy this but withdrew when she realised it was too big for her garden. I had a good look but decided not to make an offer. So here it is. Not often do you see a bell tower for sale. I will find out what happens to it.


Here is the bell carefully guarded in the site Manager's office. It shows the way the bell frame was linked to the inside of the building where the bell handle was controlled. I suspect that close inspection will reveal quite a challenge to my limited restoration skills - but I am sure I will find someone willing to help me. Thoughts are now turning to a way of displaying the bell - on a double brick wall with a pitched roof?! Not sure about having the bell pull in a bedroom so some innovative thinking is required.


Remember that lovely old school building photos of which appear in earlier posts? Well here it is today. All those memories of children who went to the school in its heyday from the 1890s. I wonder how many heard the school bell ring?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A great day

Demolition has started. 'Should have mentioned it yesterday' said Ruth this morning. I was at the site within 10 minutes. No sign of the building where the bell once hung. No sign of the bell. After a few anxious moments I was able to attract the attention of the site manager. He assured me that the bell had been rescued and he had been told of my interest. I was able to inspect the bell. Quite a surprise. I had wondered how the bell was rung. Well I had my answer. The bell frame was connected through the wall of the building to a bell pull inside. A formidable set of fittings - all still intact. Lots of rust and grime and a formidable restoration project made me ponder.
Undeterred, as soon as I got home I telephoned my contact at TAB Projects Ltd., the demolition contractor, and made an offer for the bell.
Late afternoon my contact Alison told me the bell was mine! The agreed payment would be donated by TAB to charity. A really nice gesture. I will collect the bell soon and then the challenge of restoration and display can begin. I will be posting photos as soon as I can. I took some today but they didn't come out. A chap cannot get everything right!
A great day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Signs of life

Bulldozers have moved in. But no demolition yet. Now on red alert waiting by the 'phone.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

False Alarm!

A worrying day. I think the bell has gone. So said Ruth today. She had driven past the school and seen bulldozers on site showing signs of action.
A quick call to the demolition contractor's office. I was assured that the bell had not gone. I would be contacted as soon as the bell is removed. All this implies that I may get the bell. I assured the girl in the office that I would offer a fair price for it.
Must now be patient. Again.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

All quiet

A month has passed. The demolition contractor knows I want the bell. But all is quiet. I don't want to be a pest, constantly ringing up for news. I must make some discreet enquiries this week to find out if anyone knows when demolition is due to start. Then it's out with the camp bed.