Bellringers welcome auto winding system for the Clock Tower

Morpeth Clock Tower.
Morpeth Clock Tower.

It may look the same from the outside, but some important work has been carried out at one of Morpeth’s most notable buildings.

An automatic winding system was recently installed at Morpeth Clock Tower. It was previously manually operated.

This has been welcomed by the Morpeth Clock Tower Bellringers.

Tower Captain, Rev Simon White, said: “You can’t ring the bells when the hammers are on and until recently we had to pull them off manually, which wasn’t an easy task.

“Now it’s much easier and safer because we flick a button and the hammers are taken off automatically.”

Northumberland County Council funded the work and it was carried out by Smith of Derby. Scheduled Monument Consent was granted by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

It involved the installation of three auto-wind units to the existing three train clock and a pendulum regulator/arrestor unit, which is attached to the clock frame and operates through a time controller by electro-magnetic action to hold the pendulum and stop it, releasing at the correct time.

The pendulum is set slightly quick so that this procedure would be carried out on the hour, every hour, therefore keeping the clock to a very accurate time – particularly useful for the hour strike.

It also completes time change procedures at BST and GMT.

Rev White also said: “We suggested it would be a good idea for the auto units to be installed and we’re leased that the county council has funded this work.”

Coun Liz Simpson, the local authority’s deputy business chair, said: “This investment by the council in improvements to the clock and Morpeth Clock Tower will help to ensure that it is sustainable into the future and can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”