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SMETHWICK*, St Paul, West Smethwick 8, 3-1-18 in E

Grid Reference 139/011891 (approx) West Smeithwick Church - Source: Flickr  
Postcode B67 7LX
Date Lost c.1996 


The church, then in Staffordshire, was built in 1857/8. It was a gothic building in white Stourbridge brick with Bath stone dressings, with a tower and spire over the porch at the NW angle. The original church was destroyed by fire on 3 February 1963, but the tower and bells were unharmed. It was afterwards rebuilt on a reduced scale within the ruined shell of the old church, with the steeple remaining at the entrance to the site, forming a screen between the road and the new church. The spire of the old church had only been replaced in 1959, by one made of fibreglass.

Following the closure of the church the bells were removed from the tower in November 1993. They have since been rehung as a light ring of eight at Holy Trinity, Clifton, in Nottinghamshire, installation being completed towards the end of 1999. The clavier is now preserved in a display of materials about bells and ringing at the Swan Bell Tower in Perth, Western Australia. The church was declared redundant in 1994 and demolished in 1996-7. The spire was given to the Avoncroft Museum by the Diocese of Birmingham. It  was built in 2 sections by Brylan Plastics of London and stands 17m tall.

Originally there were three bells in the tower. Only one remained when a chime of 8 was put in the tower, in memory of Isaac Pitt, who had practised as a doctor in the parish for nearly sixty years, in 1923/4. It was 3cwt with a diameter of 24 inches, being sold for £12. Gilletts won the contract to supply the light chime of bell. The chime was intended intially as 6 bells to form 3-8 of a 12. The contract was changed to a chime of 8, with the clavier fitted out for 4 tenors, (largest 8½cwt) and an extra semitone bell, which would be the natural to the now sharp 2nd. These bells were never provided. Cast in the middle of 1924, the bells were in the key of E natural (1336Hz or E plus 22.81 cents).  The cost of the bells was £214 and the associated work brought the total cost up to £344/11/3.

Details of the Bells

1 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  0-2-08  13.50"   2672.0Hz (E+23c)
2 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  0-2-22  14.625"  2528.0Hz (D#+27c)
3 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  0-3-18  16.00"   2256.0Hz (C#+30c)
4 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  1-0-01  17.125"  2008.0Hz (B+28c)
5 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  1-1-17  18.875"  1792.0Hz (A+31c)
6 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  1-2-21  20.00"   1688.0Hz (G#+28c)
7 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  2-0-24  21.875"  1512.0Hz (F#+37c)
8 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1924  3-1-18  25.50"   1336.0Hz (E+23c)

Photo Gallery

The new church showing the old tower The interior of the new church
The spire in Avoncroft Museum  


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