The installation was a Community Project, masterminded by Keith Gatman, Head of Design and Technology at Warlingham School at that time. The project involved many of the pupils from the school, together with local bell ringers, members of St. Mary's congregation, soldiers from the Barracks, (Caterham was then a garrison town), and many other volunteers.
Between January and Easter 1993 many weekends were spent at Warlingham School cleaning up the numerous parts of the bell frame which had been taken there. Meanwhile the six bells and headstocks from Hamer had been transported to Whitechapel for tuning and essential restoration.
During the Easter holidays 1993, work started on the construction of the new frame in one of the school workshops. All the plates had to be cut and drilled, and many parts welded and bolted together. New wheels had to be made for the two new bells.
Much work was also required to repair the existing six wheels. The pulley blocks, stays and sliders were also constructed in the school workshops. The existing tubular bells (which date back to 1891) were also removed for renovation.
Much of the work continued every weekend with volunteers being taught how to do many of the jobs that were needed. Some of the pupils specialised in different aspects of the bell project to provide a major part of their GCSE course work.
The big day arrived to prepare the holes for the end of the main steel girders -
The work went on until the early hours of Sunday morning. I can still remember the shouts of joy when chocolate biscuits and flasks were hoisted instead of concrete!
Back at Warlingham School, the two-
Considerable work had to be undertaken in the tower -
Eventually all the many parts of the frame had been hoisted up and put together like a giant meccano and by the Christmas holidays it was ready for its final coat of paint followed by the major job of lifting the bells into position.
In February 1994, arrangements were made for the inspection of the whole project by Alan Hughes from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. After some minor changes the bells were 'tried out' one evening with many people present who had been so closely involved.
Bell Frame at the School
Bell in the Frame
Bell on the Move