Bell Harry Tower Friends Of The Cathedral Tour

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

BELL HARRY TOWER - Friends of the Cathedral tour.

Date: 5th June 2011


Having joined the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, it qualified me to put my name down for a tour up the Bell Harry Tower.

Unfortunately it is not something which can be opened up to the general public because of Health and Safety (and for once I can see the sense of it) and the fact that the Vice (Spiral Staircase) is very narrow indeed. There are well over 200 steps to reach the top of Bell Harry but we had a stop half way and were told about the vaulting which covers the Dean’s Chapel and saw the huge oak beams which have been there for hundreds of years. There’s a crack in the vaulting which is being closely monitored.

Our next stop was at the great Treadmill which would have brought up building materials etc. (In fact when you are by the Pulpitum looking up the splendid Fan vaulting of Bell Harry, you will see a small white cross – this is the centre of the ‘trapdoor’ through which building materials would have been transported. This part of the Bell Harry comprises Tudor brick with a stone covering. It would have been far too heavy had the whole structure been made of stone. It was interesting that on the spiral staircase, you could easily see that the bricks had been made in a curved fashion.

Then it was on and up to the very top of Bell Harry and some fantastic views of the Cathedral Roof and the surrounding buildings and countryside.

I had to choose between Bell Harry and a tour of the Stained Glass workshop – so I’ll have to leave that till next year. Just thought I’d better do the steps of Bell Harry before I get too much older!! Mind you, after the 400+ steps up the Duomo in Florence last year, Bell Harry was relatively easy.

This is a view from the top of the Bell Harry Tower down to the West end of the Cathedral.  In the 1944 Black and White  film 'Canterbury Tales' there's a great photo taken at this angle but there are very few buildings in the background.  They'd been flattened by the bombing.

BELL HARRY TOWER - Friends of the Cathedral tour.

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