ZEN AND THE ART OF BELFRY MAINTENANCE

Inspiration for Steeple Keepers - 1

Visitors and cleanliness

Now that the winter is over and the belfry not so cold, suggests that anything that gets wet will soon dry - the washing, the car, anything spilt ... and of course the bell-frame and floors of the belfry. When have you ever taken a vacuum cleaner into the bell-chamber? Have you ever WASHED the bell-frame?

Now come on, I hear you say - but I'm serious. We make a point about being able to take VISITORS up to see the bells don't we? Isn't it nice to see well kept rooms, clean metalwork, dust-free woodwork, tools put away, spare ropes hanging on hooks, other resources kept in boxes, etc? No loose wood-work or nails to trip over?

The main reason of course is entirely selfish. It's good to be able to go up for routine purposes - oil the bells (if they need oiling), attend to the clock or flag, put on silencing ropes, put on muffles (and take them off again), check (and adjust) rope position and check stay and slider mechanism - WITHOUT having to put on overalls!!

At Kidderminster we are very lucky in that not only is the bell chamber and top of the tower very accessible, ALL our band are familiar with at least the basic layout AND regularly escort visitors to all floors on our very successful OPEN DAYS. We are also very proud of our relatively modern (2004) installation, with lots to see. Now I am well aware that not all towers are easy to get into, and some most definitely have certain restrictions; but it is important that those of us with some responsibility for our belfries maintain them in a condition fit for visitors - even if the only visitors are on business, like the Incumbent, churchwardens, church (or tower) surveyor, electrician, plumber, clock mechanic, builder, bellhanger, local captain, steeple keeper and other members of the band. It IS important, that more than one designated ringer goes upstairs from time to time, and feels safe and clean!

Apart from that, with better weather the bell-chamber is a nice COOL and quiet place to be. Make sure it's nice and clean, and when you have finished those tasks that needed attention for years, sit down for five minutes, have a drink, and contemplate what needs doing next!

DWS March 2014

Document last modified 9-MAR-2014