Broken Bath Overflow

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Help!

My (large) bath has an overflow to the centre rear. When turning the overflow, the plug pops up.

A few weeks ago the external part of the overflow came off when I turned it to operate the plug. This should be a simple case of screwing it back in but I can't get any purchase on it to screw the two together. The problem is that the length and height of the bath make it impossible to get your arm or anything else (tried a lump of wood, pole etc.) round to steady the back of the overflow.

I've had a plumber in who ripped his arms to bits trying to get to it, and thinks that the only way to re-fix it is to take the bath out, which is a lot of work.

I could go through the wall by taking a brick out but the outside of this is rendered and I'd really prefer to avoid this.

Would appreciate any thoughts on any other ways to sort this.

Also I was wondering if it would be possible to replace the existing arrangement with a plug and standard overflow. I would need an overflow that could be fixed fully from the front though. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?
 
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I've never understood why designers come up with these Krypton Factor-esque fixtures.

Your plumber is probably right - the bath's gotta come out.
 
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These things are a complete PITA but if you can get behind the overflow hole at all, you might just be able to connect a universal one (Homebase 444171 for example).
Connecting the overflow hose first and using that as a wand may just enable you to connect with the chrome grille, and screw that on from the front.
Its worth an attempt anyway, so here's wishing you luck!
John :)
 
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Thanks guys.

I've ordered another waste kit. While it still needs connected from the back, as said I can use the pipe as a wand - the one I've ordered has a long thread on the part that fixes through the hole to the cup so I might be able to catch the cup on the back.

Here's hoping.
 
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