Scaffold platform and lift


PROJECT: Structural Restoration Engineering, Portsmouth Guildhall Bell Tower

LOCATION: Portsmouth, Hampshire

CLIENT: Portsmouth City Council

CONTRACTOR: Mansell Construction Services

BELL FOUNDRY: Taylors, Eayre & Smith

Restoration and Refurbishment Works

Gyoury Self had the privilege of engineering the restoration works which enabled the famous ‘Pompey Chimes’ to ring out over Portsmouth again for the first time in six years.

The chimes fell silent when the bell tower was found to be in need of restoration due to corrosive damage caused by salt in local sea air.

Our Fareham/Portsmouth engineering team provided structural design and site inspection input throughout the restoration and refurbishment project at the landmark Guildhall building, which is located in the heart of Portsmouth town centre.

The eight-month long project involved carefully removing the five bells from the bell tower so they could be taken to a specialist bell foundry for refurbishment. The bells were then re-installed on completion of the refurbishment works.

The route for removing and re-installing the bells was through a sounding (open window) in the side of the bell tower and on to a temporary scaffold platform erected on the roof of the Guildhall.

Structural design calculations were of key importance, as the hour bell alone weighs four tons!

The most difficult part of the operation was removing the five huge bells from the bell tower. A large part of the square was sealed off to allow a trackway system to be laid down in preparation for the 160-tonne crane which was central to the operation. Crowds of people gathered to witness this historic moment in the history of Portsmouth Guildhall.

Whilst the bells were off site, a new platform, bell support beams and staircases were erected to replace the existing 100 year-old items. The bells were then lifted by a temporary crane and reinstalled.

The Pompey Chimes were restored to their former glory thanks to Portsmouth locals, who gathered 10,000 signatures and raised £500,000 to progress the works. The Gyoury Self Fareham/Portsmouth team were delighted to engineer a project of such importance to the local community.

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Portsmouth Guildhall main image credit: Smith of Derby