The OLYMPIC BELL
2012 was the year the Olympics came to London and in acknowledgement of the importance bell ringing has and is to the nation’s culture an Olympic Bell was commissioned. The famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London’s East End cast this, the largest harmonically tuned bell in the World. It weighs 23 tonnes. It hung from within the stadium and was tolled by the famous cyclist Bradley Wiggins to officially open the Olympics.
The JUBILEE BELLS
On 6th February 2012 Queen Elizabeth II was only the second monarch to have reached a Diamond Jubilee and the nation celebrated this historical landmark with a huge Pageant along the Thames on June 3rd. Inspite of unkind weather the flotilla of over 1000 boats of all shapes and sizes sailed down in all their glory past the royal barge where the Queen waved her thanks to all the crews, many from overseas. One of these boats was of particular significance for it held a floating Belfry wherein 8 newly cast bells from the Whitechapel Foundry rang out throughout the long journey. They were christened The Jubilee Bells and now hang in St.Garlickhythe in the City of London and continue to ring out across the city.
These are a collection of bells numbering usually 23 that are hung from a belfry but rung through the force of pressing batons – not through the use of pulling a rope. They are known in England as ‘Carillon’ after the French where they were used extensively in Flanders from the 15th C. The same system of bells in Germany is known as ‘Glockenspiel’. A few well known examples in England are:
Bourneville in Birmingham with 48 bells, Newcastle Civic Centre with 25 bells, Manchester Town Hall Clock Tower with 23 bells, Parkgate, Cheshire with 37 bells, Loughborough with 47 bells and York Minster with 35 bells whose photo below:
the hand bell ringers of great britain