Great Paul Bell Project

Great Paul Bell

Great Paul Bell

Design models showing the mechanism for ringing the bell

Great Paul Procedure Drawing

Great Paul bell procedure-drawing

Great Paul bell procedure drawings

Following the successful completion of the design and supply of the door actuation system for the north entrance to Ripon Cathedral. The architect responsible has approached us about a new project at another landmark building under his care namely St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London.

Housed in the south west tower of St. Paul’s, above the clock is the UK’s largest bell, known as Great Paul. This magnificent bell hasn’t rung for many years as the original chiming mechanism has failed. We are proud to have been asked by the architect, Oliver Caroe, to propose a new mechanism for ringing the bell which weighs 16.5 tons. The needs of this project are that the Great Paul bell has to be swung in order to chime using its clapper, as against a static bell which is struck with a hammer (as is the case with Big Ben). Furthermore there are certain characteristics to the swinging action which affect the sound produced by the bell, and the action has to replicate the efforts of traditional bell ringers pulling on ropes.

The dynamics of swinging a 16.5 ton bell need careful consideration especially in a structure of such historic significance, so the scheme needed to minimise the risk of damage to the fabric of the building. Our proposed design has been submitted and initial technical approval has been granted. We expect site works on this exciting and challenging project to start some time during 2014.