Not clapped out any longer

4. 09NEWS

A “REDUNDANT” bell trust in the UK has come to the rescue in the Fremantle Round House volunteer guides’ search for a curfew bell for the port city’s first gaol.

The Keltek Trust houses unloved bells and finds them new homes.

“I got in touch and we sourced one in Coseley, in the west Midlands,” volunteer Shirley Burbidge told the Herald.

It was missing its clapper, but that was remedied by Round House guide-widowers Roy Stone and Bill Burbidge, who cast a new one, and made the tall jarrah frame holding the bell.

Authenticity in a replacement bell was important, Mrs Burbidge said. “The date is right because it’s 1858. We couldn’t have got better.”

The volunteers coughed up a £100 donation to Keltek, from its own limited fund of donations by visitors, and paid for the cost of repairs and the stand, while Lauder and Howard Antiques covered shipping.

In the late 1800s the bell rang out the 9.45pm curfew letting ticket-of-leave men know it was time to return to their lodgings, or face a night in a Round House cell.

“Constables would cry ‘bond or free!’” Fremantle historian Bob Reece says.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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