|Work on the bells began on the 24th of October, 1998. The work in phase one was the installation of a steel grillage constructed locally. Bell hangers from England were on site to oversee the installation of the grillage and to lower the bells to a lower level in the tower and remove the cast in crown staples. The work was done by the British firm of Eayre and Smith, Ltd. They visited the tower in 1995 and did extensive measurements of the bells and the tower for a new frame constructed in steel. Eayre and Smith have been helping us in the planning of this project for several years. By the middle of November, Eayre and Smith completed the first phase of the project and the bells sat silent three flights above Locust Street waiting for the next phase to begin.|
To read an amusing narrative about the first phase of construction, "Of Mushroom Clouds, Quasi Modo and the Efforts of Mere Mortals," which appeared The Clapper, publication of the North American Guild of Change Ringers Vol. 26, No 1, Winter 1999, click on the hypertext.
|Phase two began in May, 1999, and was completed on June
11, 1999. The work in phase 2 included the construction of a new steel frame
manufactured in England by Eayre and Smith and the installation of new headstocks, wheels,
sliders, stays and ringing hardware and the re-hanging of the bells in their
new location in the belfry. The bells were first tested on June 10, 1999
and all eight were rung for the first time on June
13, 1999 almost 124 years since the bells were first rung.
Saint Mark's bells were dedicated on October 24, 1999, by Bishop Benison of the diocese of Pennsylvania. To read about the wonderful dedication weekend, please read this article by New York writer Stephanie Cowell.
Phase three began in the summer of 1999. This phase centered on rehabilitation of the ringing room and internal and external sound control. Saint Mark's is being sensitive to community concerns about noise this time. Special louvers allow the sound of the bells to be dampened when practices or extended periods of ringing are in progress. These louvers were installed in March, 2000. They are so effective, that practices could be held late into the night without anyone being unduly disturbed. The construction and design was completed by The final project of the restoration was completed in the fall of 2000, with the installation of the new window in the ringing room.