Morecambe's Time and Tide bell is now ringing

The artist who created Morecambe’s Time and Tide Bell  had to design a new clapper for the bell due to the tidal reach being one of the highest in the UK.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 10:13 am
Updated Monday, 10th June 2019, 11:13 am
Morecambe Time and Tide Bell. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The Time and Tide bell which was formally launched at a special event on the Stone Jetty was designed by Marcus Vergette who said: “I had to create a new design for the clapper in Morecambe’s bell. The tidal reach between high and low tide is one of the highest in the UK. It took some time to get it right in time for the launch event on Friday but we got there.”

The launch event was attended by some 60 sponsors, funders, the general public and a choir of 30 children.

The event was to thank the many sponsors and funders who had provided the resources to Morecambe Artist Colony, (MAC), the not-for-profit group which has brought the project to Morecambe.

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Morecambe Time and Tide Bell. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

These ranged from funding from the Arts Council, Morecambe BID, the Galbraith Trust, the Eric Wright Trust and Venus & Cupid Arts Trust and others.

It also benefited from considerable support in the form of uncharged work and advice locally from VolkerStevin, Lancaster City Council, RG Parkins, Lancaster & Morecambe College and Bay Fabrications.

“I don’t think we could have got through all the planning and installation challenges without all this in-kind support,” said Siân Johnson who has been managing the project since 2016. The bell was installed on the Stone Jetty earlier this year.

It had been experiencing some teething problems, many of which have been tracked on Morecambe’s active social media, but these had all been fixed by the official launch on June 7.

Pupils from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School perform at the unveilling.

The Time and Tide Bell is an outstanding piece of structural and acoustic engineering as well as a work of art.

Morecambe Artist Colony is very pleased that Morecambe Bay was accepted as part of the Time and Tide Bell project.

“But we have been inspired to see this through because the bell is more than an elegant installation which rings at high tide” said Kathryn Macdonald, Chair of MAC.

From the beginning in 2005 artist Marcus Vergette created the concept to signal the danger of climate change and the need to raise awareness of it at a community level.

Morecambe Time and Tide Bell.

This is why Marcus insists that each bell is developed, supported and presented as an embedded community project, not as part of a public sector programme.

Climate change is particularly relevant to the beauty and ecological balance of the Morecambe Bay landscape. MAC’s research produced evidence supplied by Cefas, part of DEFRA, which shows that the average sea surface temperatures of British coast waters have been rising since the late 1990s.

A poignant moment during the event was when a choir of children from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School sang the new song “High Tide, Low Tide”, composed for the project by Pete Moser.

Guests at the event were able to reflect on the fact that it will be this generation which will be affected by climate change.

Morecambe Time and Tide Bell. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

During the time MAC has been working on the project the National Time and Tide Bell Organisation has been formed, co-ordinating the efforts for an expansion from seven bells to sixteen around British coastal waters.

The National body has been successful in raising £500,000 from the Big Lottery to develop a programme of education and community engagement.

It plans that within a few more years there will be a Time and Tide bell ringing at high tide at any time of the day or night to remind us of the need to make changes in our lives to reduce the impact of climate change.

Pupils from Morecambe Bay Community Primary School perform at the unveilling.
The plaque for the bell is unveiled.