Support from The Friends of Rochester Cathedral
We are very grateful to The Friends of Rochester Cathedral who have advised us of funding for two significant projects in the Cathedral.
The first is the Tudor Gate which is positioned in the railings enclosing the Cloister Garth to the south of the Cathedral and is badly in need of conservation and repair. The door frame is believed to be late 15th or early 16th century. We are also very grateful to the Ironmongers' Company who have very kindly agreed to fund the new wrought iron gate.
The second project is the Cathedral clock which has sadly lost it's chime and needs a substantial amount of work to them to be restored. It will also be given a full overhaul. We look forward to proceeding with both these projects, the value of which are £28,510.
The tower clock at Rochester Cathedral has been put out of commission this week (25th January 2011) so that work, financed by the Friends of Rochester Cathedral, can be undertaken by clock engineers Gillett and Johnston. The works will cover a range of items but fundamentally the clock and bell hammers will be removed to the Gillett and Johnston workshops for an overhaul, clean up and repairs.
The clock workings will be off site for approximately 8-10 weeks but the face of the clock will remain and the hands will be positioned at 12 o’clock. While it’s in the workshop it will be rebuilt and monitored . The moving parts and bell hammers will be thoroughly cleaned and any parts that are in bad shape will be replaced. The clock will be re-built and returned to site and reinstalled.
The three motors that drive the clock will also be replaced by gear driven motors that run more efficiently; the current motors date back to the early 70’s and they contain mercury so they need to be removed. Each motor has a different role to play with in the operation of the clock. One motor winds the clock up – the clock is still mechanically driven by its original method and if it wasn’t for this motor someone would have run up to the tower once a week to wind the clock up. One motor winds the springs for quarter chimes and the final motor winds the springs for the hourly strike.
When the clock returns and is up and running the quarterly and hourly strike of the bells will again be operational and make a very welcome return. The chimes have been greatly missed over Rochester. The night silencer will also be re-instated – this is a separate unit that stops the bells from ringing over night. In addition a pendulum regulator will be fitted to the clock. This is remotely controlled and will ensure that the clock keeps accurate time.
Unfortunately the Cathedral does not have enough funding available at the moment for any work to the dial of the clock which means the actual hands on the three faces will not be removed. This would cost a further £5,000 plus scaffolding charges, so the funding search is ongoing.
The funders of this project, The Friends of Rochester Cathedral, play a very important role in maintaining the fabric of the Cathedral. Chairman, Mr Bob Ratcliffe said, “We are delighted to be able to fund this project and I am looking forward to hearing the bells ring out over the City after a long period of silence”.