Cathedral bells being repaired in UK

9:22 am on 2 October 2012

A British foundry has begun repairs to ChristChurch Cathedral bells damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.

Some of the 13 bells were cracked when the building collapsed during the 6.3-magnitude earthquake.

They were originally cast at the John Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough in 1978 and have been returned there for repair.

Simon Adams, from the foundry, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report' programme the fittings were smashed beyond use, and it is amazing the bronze bells themselves survived with just minute cracks.

"Considering they probably fell on top of each other, and had tonnes and tonnes of masonry and all sorts of other things falling on them, it's quite incredible.

Usually you'd expect bronze castings, which can be quite fragile when they're subjected to shock, you'd expect them to shatter to pieces."

Mr Adams said 13 new sets of fittings would be made and cracks to the bells will have to be specially welded to return them to top condition.

X-rays and tonal analysis are being carried out to determine the extent of the damage.

But Mr Adams says they have already established that the tonal sound of one of the bells is completely dead and it may have to be melted down or welded.