ST. PETER’S TOWER
The bell-tower of St. Peter’s Cathedral was dedicated on 3 May 1939. The architectural firm of Castleden and Sara of Newcastle was commissioned to build the tower following as faithfully as possible the original plans and specifications of John Horbury Hunt, architect of the Cathedral, drawn up in the 1870s. An Armidale master builder, George Frederick Nott, was the honorary supervisor of the project.
He also donated the 150,000 ‘Armidale Blue’ bricks used in the construction.
Some modifications of Horbury Hunt’s plans were needed, and builders and other tradesmen of the 1930s Art Deco period were unfamiliar with the techniques which had been prescribed by Hunt and implemented by the craftsmen of the 1870s. It was a learning experience for most of them, aided by the detailed instructions left by Hunt and the skill and experience of G. F. Nott. At the dedication the Sub-Dean, Canon E. C. Hulley, paid tribute to them with the words: ‘… they have expressed in this tower the creative beauty which the gift God has given them has enabled them to do.’
‘Maud’, the tolling-bell presented to the Cathedral in 1870, was hauled to the summit of the tower through cement trapdoors. Her bell-rope hung down to the ground floor so that she could still be rung as a calling-bell for services. It would be another 57 years before a ring of eight bells was installed in the ringing-chamber in 1996.
The ground floor of the Tower Room now houses a display of memorabilia and other exhibits relating to the history of the Cathedral, Parish and Diocese.