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Major Carillon project to get underway

  • CLLR Jenny Bokor and Mel Gould

Work is set to start on a £280,000 refurbishment of Loughborough’s Carillon Tower.

The war memorial, built after the First World War to commemorate the men of Loughborough who gave their lives for their country, will undergo a range of improvements including restoration work to improve the chiming of the bells at the top of the tower.

Charnwood Borough Council is carrying out the refurbishment and says it will be complete in time for November 11 when the nation will mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

In the next few weeks scaffolding will be put around the tower to allow the work to take place.

It does mean the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum will be closed for 2018 and the regular recitals will be put on hold until after the work is finished.

Cllr Jenny Bokor, the Council’s lead member for Loughborough, said: “The Carillon is the town’s war memorial and it is only fitting that as the nation commemorates 100 years since the end of the First World War we are able to carry out this significant refurbishment.

“I am particularly pleased we are also refurbishing the clavier, the instrument that plays the John Taylor Foundry bells so they will sound better than ever.

“The Carillon is incredibly important to the people of Loughborough and a fundamental part of the local skyline.”

Mel Gould, chairman of the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum, said: “We’re delighted the Council is carrying out this improvement work and it will help make the Carillon fit for the next 100 years.

“While we don’t want to close the museum this does present us with an opportunity to remodel it and when it reopens it will also be a more enjoyable and interesting attraction for visitors.

“The volunteers have worked really hard to clear the museum and we can’t wait to see the work completed so we can move back in.”

The Carillon is a grade two listed building. Construction was completed in 1923 and it is 150ft high. At the top are 47 bells, cast at John Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough, and the borough carillonneur, Caroline Sharpe, gives regular recitals.

The refurbishment work will see the clavier fully restored with the striking elements of each bell refurbished by the foundry and there will also be some maintenance to the workings of the bells themselves. Repairs will be carried out on the stonework, copper roof, bronze memorial plaques, windows and doors.

The war memorial carries the names of 686 men who died in both world wars and other conflicts.

The work is being funded by the Council with grant funding of up to £37,000 from the War Memorials Trust.

Frances Moreton, War Memorials Trust director, said “War memorials are a tangible connection to our shared past creating a link between the fallen and today. 

“It is vital we ensure all our war memorials are in the best possible condition for their age and the charity is delighted to support this project.” 

The Carillon will be played on November 11, Remembrance Day, and other events are being planned in town by the Council and across the borough.

More information about the work is available at www.charnwood.gov.uk/loughborough_carillon_tower

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