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Margate
 

Margate, Jubilee Tower


Photo: David L Cawley

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
Quarter 1 0-2-1814⅝" D 1908 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon () Never
Quarter 2 0-3-816" C 1908 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (2225) Never
Quarter 3 1-0-717" A♯ 1908 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (2223) Never
Quarter 4 1-3-2021¹⁵⁄₁₆" F 1908 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (2224) Never
Hour Bell 3-0-125¹⁄₁₆" D♯ 1908 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon (2231) Never

 - Hung dead

Inscriptions

Prior to 1908

Bell Weight
(most recent)
DiameterNoteDateFounderRetunedFate
10-2-212"c.1888John Warner & SonsNeverRecast 1908.
20-2-1813"c.1888John Warner & SonsNeverRecast 1908.
30-3-715"c.1888John Warner & SonsNeverRecast 1908.
41-0-2218"c.1888John Warner & SonsNeverRecast 1908.
52-3-2225"Gc.1888John Warner & SonsNeverRecast 1908.

History

1888 Work began on a new clocktower to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Scaffolding was erected in August, much to the dismay of locals who would rather they started building once the holiday season was over! The tower was equipped with a clock by Potts of Leeds and 5 bells were provided for it, subcontracted by John Warner & Sons. These were earlier supposed to be hemispherical, but Taylor notes of c.1904 suggest that they were standard bells. [1]
1889 The tower was completed and opened on Friday 31 May by Alderman Hermitage. [2]
1890 The chimes from the new clock tower were not appreciated by the residents, so much so, the Council had them disconnected. [3]
1904 The Borough Surveyor started to make enquiries about having the clock bells recast. As well as approaching Gillett & Johnston (who got the contract in the end), they contacted John Taylor & Co, who replied as below.
1908 The existing bells in the Julbilee Tower were recast by Gillett & Johnston and the clock was overhauled. The G&J tuning books only give cast weights and tunings so finished weights are estimated from these. Tuned October.
[1] MARGATE. The Jubilee Clock Tower - The scaffolding has been erected preparatory building this tower, the site being near the large lamp on the broadway opposite tbe Kent Hotel. Many of the residents the locality are complaining that the work should have been commenced this busy stage of the season, and a memorial is in course of signature requesting the Council to stop the work till after the season. (Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 4 Aug 1888)
[2] The Jubilee Tower. On Friday the clock tower erected in Margate in commemoration of the Queen’s Jubilee was handed over to the Mayor and Corporation. It occupies a prominent site, and cost nearly £2,000. Alderman Hermitage performed the formal ceremony, and the Mayor made the usual acknowledgment. Mrs. A. B. Cobb started the project, and Mr. Cobb, as well as the Mayor and Aiderman Hermitage, addressed the large assembly. The event was communicated by the Mayor to Sir Henry Ponsonby, and the corporation and the Jubilee Committee also offered the Queen loyal congratulations of her birthday. In reply the Queen thanked the corporation and the jubilee committee, and expressed satisfaction at the successful inauguration of the tower. (Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, 1 Jun 1889)
[3] They are over-sensitive at Margate. It seems that the chimes of the Jubilee clock, in the Victoria Tower, jar upon the highly-strung nerves of the residents on Marine-terrace. So the Corporation has cut off the chiming arrangement. (Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 23 Aug 1890)

Letter from John Taylor to Ernest A, Borg, Esq, Borough Surveyor, Margate



1.
 
Letter from John Taylor to Ernest A, Borg, Esq, Borough Surveyor, Margate:

Bell Foundry, Loughborough
December 3rd 1904
Ernest A, Borg, Esq, Borough Surveyor, Margate

Dear Sir,

In compliance with your request we have had the pleasure of making an inspection of the five bells in the Jubilee Memorial Tower, Margate, & respectfully beg to report to you that we find they are much out of tune both individually and with each other, that is to say the harmonic tones of each bell are so far from being in correct musical relation with the fundamental that it is difficult to say what the real note is. It is thus impossible to tune such bells correctly. It would take a long time to explain the theory of bell tones by letter.
The best plan would be for a musical expert to be appointed to visit our foundry and to hear some properly tuned bells. We have now some bells of about the same size (these would be the original Foundry carillon bells, cast in 1904 -DLC) as those in the Clock Tower and are convinced that every one who is the least musical would hear a vast difference
The present bells are very small and though bells of such a size can be made perfectly correct in tune yet they would necessarily lack the depth of tone which is obtained with good bells of a heavier weight. The five bells now weigh we understand about 6 cwt. We should recommend them to be made about 14 1/4 cwt. A light set between the two would be about 9 1/2 cwt. The effect of all three sets can be illustrated at our foundry.
For your guidance we respectfully submit to you the enclosed specification & estimate which includes all expenses of taking down and refixing excepting of course the clock work and making an opening in the tower sufficiently large for the bells to pass through as explained to you.
Any further information or particulars we are able we shall be pleased to give you and your esteemed commands shall have our strictest care and attention.
Yours most obediently
John Taylor & Co JWT

An Estimate for five new bells for the MARGATE CLOCK TOWER for Westminster quarters and hour,
the hour bell to weigh about 5 3/4 cwts, and the total weigh to be about 14 1/4 cwts. and to be charged
for at the rate of Ł7. 0s. 0d percwt., to be of the finest quality of tone and in perfect tune with true harmonics Ł 99 15s 0d

Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 29 March 2020