Chile firefighters at All Saints
September's All Saints Alive Festival Choral Evensong began with the Vicar receiving the newly restored Santiago bell back to its home at All Saints. The bell was part of a historic peal shipped on a copper barque to Swansea following the tragic fire at the Jesuit Church in Santiago, Chile, in 1863. Read more about it. The tragedy is thought to be the worst fire disaster in human history and claimed over two and a half thousand lives, mainly women and children. Three other bells, housed at All Saints’ were gifted to the people of Chile earlier in 2010 and will form part of a new memorial to the victims of the disaster in time for the 150th anniversary in 2013. The little bell used to hang at St. John’s Church, Hafod, Swansea, and was given to All Saints when the Church was reordered some years ago. The little bell dates from between 1753-1818 and was first cast in Huesca in north eastern Spain. It is one of the last tangible links to the historic ‘Copper Trade’ which turned the small town of Swansea into the world’s ‘Copperopolis’ during the height of the Industrial Revolution. As an important part of our history the bell will be given a place of honour in our ancient and modern Church. We are most grateful to the staff of Wall Colmonoy Engineering in Pontardawe for restoring the bell for us. We are especially grateful to Mr Rian Davies who has given so much of his time to the restoration project. We also thank Mr Ken Rice for designing a new stand and the craftsmen at ‘The Forge’ for making it in time for this evening’s service. More recently two firefighters from Santiago made the journey to All Saints to see the newly restored bell. Pictured with the Vicar are Brian Murtagh and Horachio Melendez.
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