Apprentices Ross Bower and Craig Hignett complete painstaking project to restore a long-silent fog bell at the Mersey Ferries Seacombe Terminal. Tony McDonough reports
For many years the fog bell at Mersey Ferries Seacombe Terminal in Birkenhead rang out to guide ships in low visibility.
But the 100-year-old bell eventually fell into disrepair, until Ross Bower, and Craig Hignett came along. The duo are Liverpool City Region Combined Authority apprentices. They took on a project to restore the bell to full working order.
They were looking for a real-life case study to complete their apprenticeship with the Combined Authority. So they took on the mechanical upgrade of the bell. They have made a video showcasing the work they undertook.
This project took several months to complete and involved sourcing antique parts and hours of painstaking labour to remove rust and old protective paint, before carrying out intricate work to piece the mechanism back together.
That very mechanism has now been tried, tested and placed in a clear perspex protective case where it will sit proudly for many years to come. And it will sound the chime of its forgotten history once more.
Cllr Liam Robinson, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “Radar has been used for many years, both on and offshore, to keep boats safe in reduced visibility, leaving the bell out of service for decades.
“It has been a great experience to witness the journey Ross and Craig have been on while restoring the fog bell.
“They’ve managed to bring to life a piece of history, as well as earning their apprenticeship which is an impressive outcome and one they should be very proud of.”