Hamilton, Ontario, Church of the Ascension,
Also scouted this the night before.
Bruce Cross, the Music Director was leading a choir practice, but immediately stopped when he saw me walk in with a handlight and camera.
Again, stating my case, he wanted to join us after 10am.
He also wondered about the bells.
Remember, Rev. Canon William Thomas and Rob Milliken had gotten ths whole trip started
with their interest in these bells which had been silenced for maybe 50 years.
They were originally gifted to the church as the first 5 bells of a chime, hoping for
an additional gift of 3 bells to complete the set.
Lore had it that when the neighboring apartment building was built, someone complained bitterly
about the bells (and may have threatened to burn the Church down if they kept ringing
them) and the bells were silenced.
Later, the tower was nailed shut.
I was the lucky one who got there first.
The office was closed and the maintenance man had a note specifically saying no one was to be given access to the tower.
After driving 400 miles, I wasn't too happy.
Then Bruce got there and stood up for himself and said that as Music Director, we should be allowed access.
Then Rob showed up after all that fun.
Think for a moment.
Here is a tower nailed shut for many years.
What would you expect to find?
Would the bells be lying on the floor?
Our first jolt was that the entrance to the tower was thru a door to a spiral staircase,
hidden from view, alongside the Church.
The quite friendly maintenance man then proceeded to remove many nails from the hidden
Bruce watches as the nails are being removed.
The door is very well hidden.
It had to be pried loose, even after the nails were removed.
The anticipation built up as we all wondered what we would find as we ascended the spiral staircase to the tower.
It was like a miracle.
We came into a ringing room, perhaps 16' in diameter.
The bells are only a little bit of work short of being usable.
The 5 bells are well secured by rusty hardware to the typical Whitechapel wooden headstocks.
The hardware to ring the bells is rusty, but we got it all to move.
There were pulleys where the chime ropes had been fed thru.
The panel with only three wheels probably services the three bells on the opposite side.
The bells on this side being serviced withouout going thru the wheels, but going thru the other two holes at the bottom.
Apparently, these are lightning arrester cables conecting all five bells.
MEARS is somewhat legible on this bell.
This view looks down on all five bells.
They are lined up in 2 in the foreground, 3 in back.
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