A RESTORATION AT SOUTHAMPTON.

DEDICATION OF ST. MICHAEL’S SPIRE AND BELLS.

The ring of eight bells at St. Michael’s, Southampton, were dedicated and opened on Thursday, September 30th, and rung after a silence of about 12 years.

Soon after the war, the Church Council decided to have their bells put in order, but after they had been taken down and removed to the foundry it was found that extensive repairs to the spire were necessary, and the scheme was held up for want of funds.

Even after the spire had been restored, the church authorities were in doubt as to whether it would be safe to have the bells hung for ringing, and it was only after the tower had been inspected and a favourable report made by Rev. C. E. Matthews, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Mr. E. A. Young and Mr. G. Williams that the work was proceeded with.

The whole scheme, bells and spire, cost £2,000, and this amount has been raised in full.

All the bells have been recast and hung in a new iron frame, with all new fittings. The weight of the tenor is 17 cwt. in F. The work was carried out by Messrs. Gillett and Johnston in their customary excellent style, the ‘go’ and tone of the bells being all that can be desired. The only complaint is that the ringing chamber is rather noisy, but it is hoped to remedy this at an early date, as at present there is only one floor between the ringers and the bells.

The re-dedication of the spire and bells was performed by the Lord Bishop of Winchester.

The proceedings began with a reception in St. Michael’s Parish Room, which was attended by a large gathering, including the Bishop of Winchester, the Mayor and Mayoress of Southampton, and other members of the Council.

Congratulatory speeches were made by the Mayor and the Bishop, and the dedication ceremony followed at evensong. The service was conducted by the Rev. J. W. S. J. Danbury, the late Vicar, through whose efforts largely the restoration was due, and after the formal dedication of the spire and bells, the Bishop gave an address.

Following the service, the bells were open for ringing, and some twenty members of the Winchester Diocesan Guild attended and took advantage of this privilege. Among those present were: Messrs. G. Williams (Master), W. Andrews, W. Tucker, F. Blondell, S. R. Roper (representing Messrs. Gillett and Johnston), and members from North Stoneham, Bishopstoke, Dibden, Portsmouth, Southampton (St. Mary’s), and Winchester Cathedral. The methods rung ranged from Grandsire Triples to London Surprise Major.

All those who wish to ring on these bells will have an opportunity to do so, as a Guild meeting will be held there on November 6th, due notice of which will be given in ‘The Ringing World.’

The Ringing World No. 811, October 8th, 1926, page 634