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Thread: St Luke's Bells

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    Senior Member DKL's Avatar
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    Default St Luke's Bells

    Today the shell of St Luke’s stands at the junction of Liverpool’s Renshaw Street and Berry Street and is a poignant reminder to the horrors that Merseyside faced in the dark days of World War Two. Building work on this beautiful building commenced in the year 1811 and the church was finally consecrated in 1831. In 1829 bells were installed and rang out across the city with their loud musical chimes. Their sound however was not to everybody’s liking and complaints began to emerge from the echelons of well-to-do society.

    On their behalf Mr. Henry Lawrence wrote to the Liverpool Mercury and complained that the daily noise of the bells was so intolerable that they should be removed from the vicinity or at most only rung on special services. Being positioned on cast ion frames, as opposed to the standard wooden type he believed added to their particular unwanted vibrations. In addition, the position of the church was such that reverberations greatly affected the bedroom windows of houses in nearby Rodney Street causing ‘serious injury to property in the neighbourhood.’ The melodic issue appeared to split public opinion with letters were sent to support the removal of the bells to other churches as others argued that they were an added improvement to the city.


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    It was estimated that the cost of removal would not have exceeded £200 and that it would have taken approximately three months to complete. St. Martin in the Fields, in Silvester Street, was quite capable of housing the instruments but at this point I can find no further reference of their exact fate.

    In 1834 however a Stranger’s Guide to Liverpool does mention that the church of St Luke’s houses ‘a fine peal of bells hung in the tower’ so it would appear that by this point the bells and their divisive chimes survived to sound another day. I intend to discover more about this mysterious tale as research continues.

    If you have any information please get in touch as it would be brilliant to know for sure exactly how the story plays out.
    Discover Merseyside's yesteryear. Historic crime, miscellaneous titbits, local books, nostalgic pics & many more!


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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Hello DKL

    It would seem to me that Yo Liverpool member Cadfael, who runs the
    St Luke's Bombed Out Church Website
    , is the man you need to talk to -- although perhaps you are already in contact with him?

    Note also this thread at Yo Liverpool that Cadfael established to discuss his website.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
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    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
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    Senior Member DKL's Avatar
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    Hey Chris,

    Email has been sent to Cadfael's site this morning but I thought I'd throw it out here as well, just in case

    Thanks though!
    Discover Merseyside's yesteryear. Historic crime, miscellaneous titbits, local books, nostalgic pics & many more!


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    Senior Member DKL's Avatar
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    Little update:

    I got in touch with Jonathon Wild who runs www.stlukeliverpool.co.uk

    In reply to the question of the bells he states:

    “The bells were installed in to the first ever metal bell frame in 1828 and continued to sit there till the night of the bombing on the 6th of May 1941. The flames reached to the bell chamber where 5 of the bells fell to the floor of the tower and cracked, the 3 remaining bells were left hanging there.

    They were taken down in due course where the Liverpool Corporation sold them for scrap in the 1960’s, sadly.

    The bells were considered a problem due to them being situated at the bottom of the louvers so the sound beat down directly below (if you visit Childwall - they have the same issue). Sound control was done to a fair extent and two of the remaining ringers in 1995 who rang the bells of St Luke’s said they were a melodious peal but always in competition with the ring of 10 at the Pro-Cathedral and the ring of 12 at St Nicholas Pier Head.”

    So it seems that those early fans of the bells won the day and they remained in place at St Luke’s for a total of 117 years until Hitler’s airforce silenced their chimes forever.
    Discover Merseyside's yesteryear. Historic crime, miscellaneous titbits, local books, nostalgic pics & many more!


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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Great information. Thanks, Daniel and Jonathan.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    Editor, Loch Raven Review
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