Port Elizabeth's iconic Campanile bells to be removed

APRIL 26, 2016

The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) a Not for Profit Company wholly-owned by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), on Tuesday marks a significant phase in the restoration of the City’s iconic landmark, the Campanile.

"The NMBM tasked the MBDA to restore the ageing Campanile after an evaluation found the landmark to be structurally unsafe and needing significant maintenance. The restoration work commenced at the beginning of March 2016 and should be completed in the first quarter of 2017," explains Luvuyo Bangazi, Marketing Manager and Spokesperson at the MBDA.

The Campanile was completed in 1923 and is now 92 years old and shows the impact of time. The carillon was installed in 1932 and is now 83 years old. 

"It is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower (belfry) of a church or municipal building. The instrument consists of 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord," says Bangazi. 

"The carillon was last restored 16 years ago in 1999. It is the most vulnerable part of the Campanile being the most exposed to the weather. The steel structure from which the bells hang, the cradle, is the worst affected. The mechanism connecting the bells to the keyboard is not in working order and will be modernized and the bells themselves will be repaired. In addition the MBDA will introduce elements to make the Campanile representative as a monument belonging to all citizens of the Nelson Mandela Bay." 

Tuesday 26th April – Process to remove bells begins

He said on Tuesday morning (weather permitting), the bells will be removed in order to replace the steel girder, from which they are supported which is extensively rusted. The bells will then be repaired and returned to the building.

The Campanile will be reopened as a Tourist attraction once it has been fully restored.

Image: www.nightjartravel.com