Saturday 17 October 2009

Ring Out Good News!

loughboro bell foundrySome good news just spotted on the BBC website - the bell foundry at Loughborough has been saved from closure.

According to the foundry website "John Taylor Bellfounders continues a line of bellfounding which has been unbroken since the middle of the 14th Century, when Johannes de Stafford was active only 10 miles from the site of the present foundry. Since 1784 the business has been in the hands of the Taylor family. In 1839 the business settled in Loughborough and is now proud to operate the largest bellfoundry in the world.


The largest bell in Britain, "Great Paul", the massive Bourdon bell at St Paul's Cathedral in London, was cast in Loughborough in 1881, weight 37,483 pounds."

This engraving shows the bell being tested in Loughborough before it was transported to London



There are only two bell foundries operating in Britain now, the other being in Whitechapel, London, and I am really pleased that my 'local' one is not going to close. I love the sound of bells - of all kinds, from the great chimes of church bells to the pretty tinkling of Christmas Jingle Bells. And there are so many bells in literature - from Dorothy Sayers 'Nine Tailors' to Hugo's 'Notre Dame'

jingle bells Technically 'jingle' bells are 'crotal' bells - but that is not a very euphonic term for such instruments of tintinnabulation is it?

And only the English could have made an art of change-ringing - the art of ringing a set of tuned bells in a series of mathematical patterns called "changes". It differs from many other forms of campanology (such as carillon ringing) in that no attempt is made to produce a conventional melody. That probably seems a crazy idea to many people [but for a non-musical mathematical person like myself, it makes perfect sense!] And so many phrases and sayings in our language ...

As Sound As A Bell

Ring The Changes

Saved By The Bell

Go Like The Clappers

To Bell The Cat

Hang On The Bell, Nellie!

As Leslie Phillips would say... "Ding-Dong!"

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