July 6 2023 marked the end of an extraordinary period of time - about 8 years - for Rob Payne, Liz Dixon and their colleagues in Happisburgh to have been working on getting the bell in place. Their delight that the installation had at last come to pass shines out of the video below, as does Rob's beautiful analysis of the range of meanings the bell can embrace.
The triumphant installation was followed on a slightly rainy Sunday 9th by the celebration. Among other speakers Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall powerfully placed the bell in its Norfolk context, and in particular the fast eroding Happisburgh cliffs. As did Nick Crane, formerly of the BBC's Coast programme, remembering damp encounters with other Time and Tide bells. The Red Rebel Brigade made an enigmatic and very powerful appearance (accompanied by a rather lonely climate denier).
After a long period getting funding and developing the design, the Happisburgh bell is at last taking real shape. Shown below is the radically different structure on which it will be mounted - a sled. Made of oak, it is a response to the continual erosion of the Happisburgh coastline, at somewhere around two to five meters a year.
The intention is that when the bell finds itself marooned at sea, it will be dragged inshore on the sled at its base. This is yet another commentary on the transience of this part of the coast, indeed of much of the East coast of the UK. For more information about coastal erosion in the area see here or here.
There is no date for installation yet, final permission is still required from the Marine Management Organisation, but there is a fair chance it will be in the Autumn of 2022. Until then the bell is a popular feature in residence at the local primary school.
... but we need to raise the funds to install the bell. We currently have about £5,000 but we need about ten more at least to have the structure holding the bell to be fabricated and then for it to be installed securely on the beach.