This is a charming and insightful interview with Libby Scarfe about her work with children at her beach school.
It comes from the podcast series Turning Little Stones, by Caroline Allen. Much more here.
The bell was formally inaugurated by Cllr Ivan Henderson, Mayor of Harwich Town Council, on October 9, 2022. It was a terrific day, with children performing to a shanty, speeches, thank-yous to the many people who had brought the project to life, and a specially written shanty. About 150 people were present, and the bell duly rang. It is the eighth to be installed around the coast of the UK.
The video below features a conversation between Marcus Vergette, whose concept the bell is, and Libby Scarfe, prime mover of the project in Harwich.
There is also a good interview by Owen Ward of the podcast Essex by the Sea here.
Triumphantly, the bell was installed on Sunday September 25, 2022. The first new bell for 3 years! It is a triumph for all concerned, above all for Libby Scarfe.
Fairly obviously the pictures show varying states of the tide..
The design and construction of the mounting of the Harwich bell marks a departure for Time and Tide Bells. It is made entirely from oak, in fact an oak that was blown over near Marcus Vergette's studio in Devon. As a result it is extremely low in carbon content - very little steel. These photos are from the studio.
The installation was undertaken by partners Trinity House, a charity with a range of duties including General Lighthouse Authority, which amounts to maintaining lighthouses and buoys round the UK coast. It is based in Harwich.
Trinity House takes safety very seriously, so our cameraperson was not able to get very near the action!
After a huge amount of preparatory work, the Harwich bell will be formally revealed at 11.30 on Saturday October 8th. This event will form part of the Harwich International Shanty Festival, a huge gathering of Shanty-lovers. They have written a special Shanty for the installation.
Marcus Vergette has chosen a novel structure for the mounting of the bell. Made of oak, it will greatly reduce carbon emissions compared with a metal structure. The photos below show the structure under development at Marcus' studio, together with
The photo below shows it being unloaded at our partner for the physical installation, Trinity House (responsible, among other things, for the management of lighthouses around the coast, and based in Harwich).
In October 2021 we presented a half-bell to the Mayflower School, which is near where the bell will finally be sited at the Lower Lighthouse. Much enthusiasm!
It turned out that it would cost a great deal to create the foundations for the bell at the first site we looked at, on the spit of sand, shingle and mud that emerges at low tide.
On April 16 2021 a group visited all the most promising sites around the town. The most promising, extremely promising in fact, looks to be just off the Low Lighthouse - a location rich in history. The video shows its current name - the Maritime Museum.
The proposed location for the Harwich bell is on a spit of sand that runs out from the beach. Obviously the bell will need a strong foundation - and so there needs to be an investigation of what is going on underground - core drilling.
On October 23 Tendring District Council engineers brought along a drilling rig. It turns out that you have to go down 12 meters to find something solid. So the bell will have to be mounted on a quite substantial pile.
Current thinking is to install the bell on a spit of gravel, exposed at low tide, running roughly Eastwards from Harwich beach, in the direction of Felixstowe.
The heart of Harwich is remarkable. On the tight grid of streets there are innumerable historic buildings, together with a large number of structures of military or maritime significance - forts, lighthouses and more, together with the massive buildings of Trinity House, the Harwich Haven Authority and many other current marine businesses.
Harwich has many festivals (even if most, if not all, are cancelled in 2020).
We hope to install the bell during the Shanty Festival in October, 2021.
These are illustrations from the 2019 Festival.