Steve Vickars and his team have been hard at work continuing to renovate much of the ring at St Mary’s, Kirtlington.
After last year’s replacement of pulleys and ceiling bosses, they finally completed cleaning and re-painting the bell frame, which had previously been painted some 50 years ago and definitely needed doing. They noticed that there had been some corrosion on one part of a supporting girder, but the expert opinion was that the frame overall is still sound.
Steve helped Isaac and Aaron (socially distanced, naturally) to remove wheels and clappers, prepare the frame for painting, then apply Red Oxide primer and top coats to the frame, headstocks, clappers and supporting girders. This took two long weekends between end February and early March 2021, with some additional work in the intervening week.
The result is quite striking! Below are some before and after photos. Seve hopes that the frame should not require re-painting for another 40 years or so. This will be aided by the installation of a weather-proof membrane in front of the louvres, to keep moisture and dust out of the bell chamber.
Steve said, “While we intend to chime and toll for a few occasions over the next two months, we hope to return to socially-distanced ringing from May, all being well.”