The beautiful day of Tuesday, June 6 2023 saw, at long last, the installation of the bell on Breakwater Beach.
It was a triumph for the sustained effort, over five years of Pauline Neal and her team. It could not have taken place without a great deal of hard work from the Brixham Gig Club, as a glance at the video below will make abundantly clear.
Pauline said “So proud to see the Brixham Bell finally sitting beautifully on Breakwater beach… huge thanks to everyone who has helped over the years and especially to Spud and his team at RWS engineering and Brixham Gig club members for pushing, pulling and heaving the Bell into position. it wasn’t easy!!”
Despite numerous challenges caused by COVID 19 and associated problems, one of which has been to undertake a slight redesign of the Bell supporting structure, we are delighted that the Brixham Time and Tide Bell will soon be installed on Breakwater Beach.
Local Brixham engineer Roger and his team at RWS Engineering are responsible for manufacturing the steel supporting structure and they have been beavering away over the last few months to ensure that the installation can happen before summer, hopefully by May.
The wooden parts of the structure are now being provided by a local joiner and the green oak is being sourced from Dartmoor. The installation will have its own challenges, one of which is the high tide times but the team are confident we can manage this and the manoeuvring of the large bell into place.
The actual Time and Tide Bell has been delivered to Brixham by the artist Marcus Vergette and is being securely stored.
Nationally there are new bells being installed across the UK and presently there are now 7 bells in situ and another 6 sites more in development.
Plans have been submitted to Torbay Council for the installation of a Time and Tide Bell on Breakwater Beach. If approved, and if £20,000 is raised, the Time and Tide Bell will be one of 16 at locations around the country.
Rung by the high tide, Time and Tide Bells are positioned around the coast of Britain, sounded by the waves. Each bell has been installed by the local community, to create, celebrate, and reinforce connections; between different parts of the country, between the land and the sea, between ourselves and our environment. Six of the 16 planned have already been installed, including one at Appledore in North Devon.
A working group at Brixham is seeking planning permission for the structure from Torbay Council. It will also need permission from the Government’s coast agency the Marine Management Organisation. It is also working to raise £20,000 to install the bronze bell in a steel and oak frame attached to rocks on the shoreline at Breakwater Beach.
The national project was the idea of Devon artist Marcus Vergette and aims to connect local communities with the sea and each other.
Brixham has been selected as the site for a Time and Tide Bell, one of many located around the shores of the UK and this will be a great opportunity for our local community and tourists to explore our shores and for Brixham to be part of a nationwide network of Time and Tide Bells.
These Time and Tide bells are major sculptures of unique design, located at five locations around the British coast, mounted in such a way that the incoming tide causes the bell to ring. The rise of the water at high tide moves a clapper to strike the bell and as the sea level rises the period between bell strikes becomes shorter and the pitch of the bell changes. They have attracted a great deal of interest among many visitors to their very varied sites.
The Time and Tide Bell itself will be funded from a national fund and installation and site of the bell will be dependent on the local community, raising funds and utilising local expertise.
Pauline Neal will be leading the project, with support from Sophie Bower of Millie and Me and it is hoped to form a small steering group to progress the project.
A local public meeting, 23rd January 18.30hrs at the Berry Head Hotel, has been arranged for all local residents, businesses and organisations to come along and meet artist Marcus Vergette and to understand more about how the bell works and how the community can help install it.
If you would like to attend the meeting or be involved simply contact Pauline Neal, 07540 555461 or just turn up on the night.