Stone Jetty could be site for Morecambe bell

The proposed Stone Jetty site for the Morecambe Time and Tide Bell project.
The proposed Stone Jetty site for the Morecambe Time and Tide Bell project.

The Stone Jetty in Morecambe Bay could become home to one of 12 unique bells around the UK.

The Tide and Time Bell project looks at installing musical bells at a number of sites around the country.

Morecambe could be the last area to have one of the bells created by Devon-based sculptor and musician Marcus Vergette.

Played by the movement of the waves, the bell creates a varying, gentle, musical pattern, striking in time with the rise of the water.

Morecambe Artist Colony, a newly-formed group of local artists, hosted the public meeting at The Hothouse, home of More Music, to discuss the proposed Stone Jetty site.

Marcus received glowing support from residents, councillors and Stone Jetty cafe owners Shaun and Janet Blades over the proposed site.

Marcus said: “The Stone Jetty is a fantastic site for the bell, mainly because of the access available and the view.”

Paul Heppell, a fine artist student from Morecambe, travelled from Wrexham for the meeting.

He said: “I think it’s a good thing for someone like Marcus to come and say how beautiful Morecambe is, it is clear he can see the value in the town.”

Members of the public questioned whether the noise would disturb residents and wildlife.

Marcus said: “The bells have a low sound, and do not affect the birds at all. I don’t want it to be a menace or keep people awake.”

One brass bell costs £20,00, which is given to the community as a gift. It is then up to the community to fundraise for the installation which can cost up to £10,000.

Eleanor Gifford, a member of Morecambe Artist Colony, said: “We recognise how special it is that we have this opportunity for a piece of public art in the town. To have this on the coast would mean that it would bring more people into the area and people can have a really special time in Morecambe.”

Each clapper on the bell has an inscription designed by the community, and although each bell is identical in the 11 areas they all react differently to the sea.

Marcus said: “Morecambe is exciting for so many reasons, it is a romantic place and the coast is changing all the time, it has a great narrative for the bells.

“I think it is critical to get more people involved, each of these places has some meaning for the community.”

The group will now work closely with Lancaster City Council to move things forward and will also start looking at ways to fundraise for the installation of the bells.

Coun Tracey Brown suggested a 5k run along the promenade whereby participants could each wear bell bracelets to promote the public art.

Sian Johnson, a member of Morecambe Artist Colony, said: “I have put together the proposal for the site to the council and it is great that so many people are supportive.”

Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member with responsibility for planning and regeneration, said: “The council is looking forward to receiving a planning application in relation to the project. As Morecambe Bay is an area heavily protected by national and international environmental legislation, any proposal to site permanent structures at the high tide line will have to take account of these constraints.

“In order to support the project, a council officer has been assigned to offer technical assistance to Morecambe Artist Colony subject to the planning process and other necessary consents being secured.”

To get involved in the project or find out more email Morecambe Artist Colony via morecambeartistcolony@gmail.com.