As a member of the Warrington Civic society I have been following the story of, and have got involved in the campaign to save the 133 year old Crosfield bell, and get it brought back to Warrington.
The bell has been removed from St Thomas’ Church at Stockton Heath, by contractors of the foundry John Taylor & Co who in Loughborough who originally installed it back in 1883. It has been valued at £10,660 including VAT, and was donated by John Crosfield, in memory of his wife Eliza who died in 1882. John was the son of Joseph Crosfield who founded Crosfield & Sons in 1815, manufacturing soap at Bank Quay, which later became split between Lever Brothers (Unilever) and Ineos Silicas. A timeline of Crosfield’s history can be found at:
The old tolling bell has not seen active service for decades and eight new bells have been moved from a church in Bollington near Macclesfield:
The civic society has since learned that the bell can still toll. It was just felt that the Crosfield Bell was unsuitable to work alongside the new bells, and St Thomas gave the bell to the foundry as part exchange for the new ones.
The Walton Lea Partnership, a charity providing individual learning and skills development and supported employment to adults with learning disabilities have offered to re-home the bell in their Victorian Walled Garden which is based in what remains of the Crosfield Mansion in Walton. This would bring the bell back to the home of the Crosfield Family, and give their many visitors the opportunity to admire the bell at close quarter.
More on the charity’s work can be seen at: http://www.waltonlea.org.uk/
A total of £5330 is needed as a deposit by February 12 to prevent the Bell from being lost to Warrington, with more time to fundraise for the other half. At the time of writing donations have been coming in online via virgin giving (£170 so far), over £160 in cash, and a larger donation from the West Lancashire Freemasons (Via their Warrington Group) who have offered £1000 towards the return of the bell. There will also be members of the Civic society fundraising at Marks & Spencer’s in Stockton Heath on Saturday 6th February.
Griff Rhys Jones, who is the president of Civic Voice, the national organisation representing Britain’s civic societies and is also the president of many other preservation and conservation charities has commented:
“What a great project. I urge the people of Warrington to get behind the fundraising appeal to save the historic Crossfield bell. Give a little, give a lot and ring that bell for Warrington”
Anyone interested helping with a donation, or to get involved to save the bell should contact Civic Society Chairman John Shipley by email at Warrington.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07954 521 972.
You can donate online at: