To Whom it May Concern
RE: The Town Clock and the Bell’s in St Peters Church, Oundle
Funds are needed to refurbish the Town Clock and the Eight bells of St Peters Church. The clock is situated in the Tower of St Peter’s and is a Flat Bed, 3 Train Clock, weight driven with a pendulum action, with a 6’ copper backed cast iron skeleton dial. The left section is linked to a gravity drop hammer that strikes the hours on the tenor bell and the right section is linked to various treble bells chiming the Westminster chimes.
In 1974 the clock was converted to automatic winding, leaving the clock still driven by weights but the weights wound by motors rather than by hand. This required the installation of bulky chains and frames to harness the winding mechanism. The winding mechanism is mains driven and has no back up which causes problems when there are power cuts and when the clocks change in spring and autumn. It is unreliable and there are Health and Safety issues with the old winding unit. Damage has also been caused to the hammers becoming damaged during bell ringing activities.
There is a need to replace the automatic winding system with a more modern system returning the clock to its original operating method. This new system will operate at low voltage with the dual benefit of resolving safety issues and the ability to support the systems with a rechargeable battery back for continuous operation during all normal power failures. The bell hammers are to be repaired and a new controller is to be installed to pull off hammers for bell ringing with light controls to indicate when these are operational.
When specifying the works detailed above it was recognised that, to the public view, the clock dial is suffering from some corrosion and the paint is in poor condition. It was decided that it was best to link this work in at the same time as the internal works as they gave some cost savings. The aim is to take the dial down, shot blast it to a clean surface and then re-paint and re-gild it.
The costs of the above works is c.£12,250 plus VAT. Works are needed urgently and we have managed to secure funding to underwrite the costs so works on the clock can go ahead as soon as possible.
St Peters is one of the few Churches in the area with 8 bells. Some work has been carried out this year to treat death watch beetle in part of the bell chamber but some repairs are required to the wheels, frames and clappers. Short and longer term works required are currently circa £6,700 plus VAT.
We therefore need to undertake substantial fund raising to re-pay back the monies to be advance for the clock works advanced and I am indebted to the Oundle Business Association for their help with this project.
Chairman, St Peter’s Tower Group