Morecambe’s Time and Tide bell due to be launched

Morecambe Bay’s Time and Tide Bell is due to be formally launched today, Friday June 7 at an event on the Stone Jetty.

Friday, 7th June 2019, 12:20 pm
The installation of the Morecambe Time and Tide bell. Picture: Johnny Bean/Morecambe Artist Colony.

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

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

It has also benefitted 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 after MAC ran the first community workshop to decide on whether Morecambe should join the small but growing group of Tide and Tide bells around the country.

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 have all been fixed.

“I had to create a new design for the clapper in Morecambe’s bell” explained the artist Marcus Vergette.

“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 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.

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.

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 £0.5 million 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.