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The Restoration Of The Tower

The restoration of the tower and the building work associated with removal of the old bells and rehanging of the new bells occupied the summer and autumn of 1987 under a contract let to John Surgenor and Son.

Externally the stonework was completely repointed. The battlements were rebuilt and the coping stones of those on the turret were recut. The majority of the rosettes in the intrados band of the cornice have been replaced and refixed. Replacements mullion and springer stones from the Dunhouse Stone Quarry have been used to restore the tracery in the sound openings of the belfry and a numberof quoin stones at lower level. The sandstone has been treated in an attempt to reduce future rabages of weather.

In the belfry extensive work has taken place. The stonework has been repointed internally and a new reinforced concrete ring beam cast on corbels set into the basalt walls. Most of the floorboarding has been replaced and the floor, which is effectively the roof of the tower, has been releaded. A new obervation gallery has been erected along the North Wall and new shutters have been fixed at all sound openings. These latter allow some control of the sound from the belfry.

Access to the belfry has been improved by the provision of a spiral staircase from the ringing room landing to that of the door to the belfry. The belfry door itself has been replaced with a sound deadening door.

New lights have been provided in the turret and belfry to give an improved level of lighting. Together with the new gallery and staircase access these allow the bells to be reached and viewed safely.

The ringing room has taken on a new look through a complete renovation. A new trap with associated supporting beams trussed to support the belfry floor have been formed at ceiling level. The old ladder has been removed to make room for the larger rope circle and the walls have been replastered. In the East Wall a new window frame with opening lights has been fitted in the lancet window and the original cast iron lattice frame restored and fixed as a grill. The circular window in the North Wall has had the stonework glazed directly in amber leaded lights. New panelling, fixed seating and cupboards, in American white oak, have been installed by Mr Hugh Drennan, Cabintermaker, of Newtonards, under a seperate contract. To complete the reappointment new electric lights have been installed and the floor has been carpeted. The ceiling, upper walls and the staircase have been redecorated by Mr Jim Barr.

Design and supervision of the entire building works has been the responsibility of Chartered Structural Engineer Brian C. Campbell, B.Sc.,C.Eng.,M.I.C.E.,M.I.Struct.E..