An appealing future for Moseley

St Mary's church in Moseley Village has launched an appeal for £140,000 to install a new peal of ten bells. The current eight steel bells have a distinctive, if not horrible, sound and originally hung at St Marie's in Sheffield, now the Roman Catholic Cathedral. Sheffield replaced them after 12 years because of the dreadful noise they made and they were sold to a local Moseley businessman who presented them to St Mary's in 1874.

Image reproduced under Creative Commons Licence from Flickr user: CmdrGravy

The bells were rung at St Mary's until 1909 when the bells fell silent and the frame and fittings into disrepair. Inspections were carried out in 1979 and 1989 but the bells and frame were found to be unsafe and scrapping them was recommended. With little hope of replacing them members of the parish performed a limited restoration and the bells were rung again 82 years later on Easter Sunday 1991. The restoration however was expected to give the bells only another three years of useful service.

Casting in steel was a short-lived, cheap experiment as the bells produced were of inferior tone which got worse as they rusted. Of the twenty or so complete rings of steel bells, most have now had to be replaced with traditional bells.

The dreadful sound is due to them being made of steel, rather than bell-metal (an alloy of copper and tin), and now that their fittings have deteriorated to a dangerous state it is an opportunity to replace them with a ring of traditional bells which will welcome more visitors to the village and to encourage new ringers as well as returning the church it's voice to the heart of Moseley Village.

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