|Name of walk||Barrow Town Hall Tower Tour|
|Date of walk||2017-07-26|
On Wednesday afternoon the St. James’ bell ringers went on a tour of the bell tower of Barrow Town Hall, organised by ringer, Sue. I have done Town Hall Tours before when I accompanied my students from school, but I have never visited the tower. It is not suitable for large groups, children, those with any mobility problems (100 steps to the top) or a dislike of heights.
The Town Hall was built in 1886 in neo-gothic style, from Hawcoat Sandstone.
After a quick tour of the main rooms by steward, Jake, we split into two groups of five for our tour up to the top of the tower to be given by Dave. One group would have to wait as space is limited. First stop was the belfry. Access was gained via a stone spiral staircase, home from home! In order to see the bells you had to climb up a step ladder. This is Phil up the ladder.
A couple of photos of the bells from my turn up the ladder. The external hammer is seen on the right. I was unfortunate to be taking a photo of the bells with both hands off the ladder, when the bells struck! Thankfully they didn't seem to be as loud as St. James' bells, and I didn't jump enough to fall off! There seemed to be two big bells and three small ones. The unsafe scaffolding meant that I didn't investigate further.
The hour chime bell is 20cwt 1qtr 14lbs cast in 1887 by Gillet & Brand.
We continued on up the spiral staircase to the room that held the clock workings.
Then up again to the clock face itself.
Ken at one of the four clock faces.
Steward, Dave on the left.
Group photo taken by Dave. We then headed up to a room that contained a radio transmitter, and the final steps up to a room that was open to pigeons, but with a good view out.
It had some great views over the town. Looking down Duke St., St. James Church in the distance and Blackcombe.
View across the roof of The Forum.
The other end of Duke St.
This area had small balconies, but health and safety meant that you could no longer walk on them.
The final small metal spiral staircase that led up to the roof top. This was open to all the elements.
These were all open windows.
Best not to trip up or you'd end up on the plaza below!
The tower roof with 360 degree views.
The crane was in the way of the view to Clarissa's lighthouse cottage at South Walney.
Duke St. Surgery, the old Alfred Barrow School and St. George's Church.
A couple more views around St. James' Church.
Looking over to Walney, with Furness College on the right.
North Scale Village on Walney Island.
We are glad that the rain had cleared to sunshine.
Ken, me, Phil, Clarissa and Derek.
St. James' Church in close up.
St. Mary's RC Church (rumour has it that they have a 20Cwt bell) and the view out to the north end of Walney Island.
Customary sheep photo!
View across B&Q car park to Devonshire Dock Hall.
We found it hard to tear ourselves away, but Sue and Andy's group would be waiting for their turn, so we headed back down.
Derek took this one of me. You can see how windy it was!
We emerge from the spiral staircase into the Council Chamber.
Sue, Lucy, Andy, Cameron and Jason are waiting patiently in the hall.
While the other group goes up we put our feet up in the Mayor's Parlour. I have been here for 'drinks' back when the late David Marcus was mayor. The wall has a rogue's gallery of all the previous town mayors.
On the walls are the emblems of ships that have either been built in Barrow or have visited.
HMS Bulwark was my father's ship, an aircraft carrier, but I'm guessing it is the new one, not the old.
Phil looking at the visitor book.
Six of Andy's photos on his group's tour. The stained glass in the hall, note the small yellow bell.
One of the bells from the side showing the hammer.
Andy's group and the clock mechanism.
Sue's daughter, Lucy.
Jason, Cameron, Andy, Sue and Lucy.
I meet Brendan as he is coming out of an Executive Meeting, so we head off home.
An excellent tour! Thanks Sue!