Historical copies of Bells to be restored

Mechanics Institute trustee Jim Oliver with the copies of the Epworth Bells. Picture: Malcolm Billingham E0325MB

Mechanics Institute trustee Jim Oliver with the copies of the Epworth Bells. Picture: Malcolm Billingham E0325MB

COPIES of The Epworth Bells are finally to be restored as historical documents, thanks to a grant from North Lincolnshire Council.

Volunteers from the Epworth Mechanics’ Institute Library launched an appeal to keep paper copies, that date back to 1872, intact.

They applied for a community grant, but were still amazed to be told recently that their bid for £6,300 has been approved. This now means folk will be able to use the archive copies for a variety of uses including charting their family tree or taking a nostalgic look at life in the Isle.

Library secretary Chris Pledger, 56, of Belton said: “We’re very grateful for the money. Now we can get on with restoring and re-binding loose copies of the Epworth Bells that are very important to the community.

“Many local historians rely on the collection for reference and they are used by people tracing their family histories too.”

It will cost over £7,000 to carry out the binding work, that will be undertaken by Gunthorpe woman Mandy Keating.

“Ideally the collection would be digitised too, but that will have to wait until some time in the future,” said Chris, who added: “We have raised £500 from donations already towards the restoration costs, and we will run a quiz at £1 a sheet from lighting up day on December 7, that will run until the Library AGM on February 19.”

Epworth’s is one of few remaining mechanics’ institute buildings and was founded in 1837 by William Read. It is situated within the Manor House, a Grade-II listed building in Market Place and has a large local archive.

The Institute held its 175 anniversary recently, with an open day and a historical timeline. Mechanics’ Institutes were once seen as places to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects. 
There will be a formal presentation of the community grant on December 21 at 9.30am in the Institute.

To find out more about the council’s Community Grant Aid scheme call 01724 297257 or visit www.northlincs.gov.uk/communitypeopleandliving/funding-and-grants/north-lincolnshire-council-grants/.




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