The Church Bells of the City of London

The Restoration of the Bells of
London Bridge

This is a photo diary of the restoration that took place over 2008-09.
Details of the Bells may be found on the main ST MAGNUS THE MARTYR page.

The project began with the outside of the tower being cleaned and restored.

8th Sept 2008 24th Sept 2008 30th Sept 2008

Scaffolding starts to rise around the tower.

The scaffolding platform in the tower under the clock bell. (1st Oct 2008)
The clock bell was removed on Tuesday 7th October (no pictures).
The treble bell has been given by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers (Vice Patrons of the appeal).  The coat of arms of the company will appear on the bell. Above is a picture of the stamp that has been crafted by Liveryman Terry Fillary that Whitechapel will use on the bell.

16th Oct 2008 - the scaffold is at full height

20th Oct 2008 - from across the river
(Photo Graham Bradshaw)

The Casting of Bell 10 - Friday 7th November, 2008

An unusual photograph.  This is the inside of the mould for the 10th.
(Photo Neil Thomas)


(Photos Cathy Hughes-D'Aeth)


The Casting of Bells 1, 2 and 3 - Friday 7th November, 2008

The furnace starts to be tipped. The three moulds standing on the foundry floor.
The metal being poured into the ladle.
In the foreground are the St Magnus 10th and
Great Wilbraham's new treble, both cast
that morning.
Watching are Prof. Rodney Cartwright
(Master of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers
who are Vice Patrons of the fund
and donors of the treble),
Mark Backhouse (Whitechapel Bell Foundry),
Owen Barnes (Plumber, whose wife's initials
appear on the treble) and Przemek Benoński

The ladle is filled.

The treble is cast. The second is cast.
Casting the 2nd. Casting the 3rd, with Chris Rogers looking on.
The 3rd bears his late mother's name.
Harold Rogers watches the 3rd being cast,
on his 92nd birthday.
The bell is in memory of his late wife.
He brought with him copies of the entries
in his wife's peal book of the 3 peals
she rang at St Magnus.
Prof. Rodney Cartwright, Chris Rogers,
Harold Rogers talking to bellfounder, Nigel Taylor.
The treble cooling down, with
Prof. Rodney Cartwright and
Owen Barnes.
The 2nd cooling down with Prunella,
Graham and Derek Bradshaw.
The 3rd cooling down with
Harold & Chris Rogers.
Nigel Taylor shows off the lettering used in
part of the inscriptions.
Dickon Love with the 3 cooling bells.
Dickon Love with the 10th. The clock bell on the floor
of the bellfoundry.  It had been
shot blasted and waiting to be
fitted, before rehanging in the spire.

The 10th is broken out - Monday 10th November, 2008
(pics Neil Thomas)

The 10th is broken out of its mould. Emerging from the loam. The ASCY mace head emerges.

The Frame is broken up - 16/17th Nov
(pics Dickon Love on 27th Nov)

This is the new window installed in the ringing room. Most of the frame cleared away.
The frame in pieces in the tower. The old tenor headstock still in situ: one half of the frame is metal; the other half is timber.

Bell 11 is cast - 28th Nov
(pics Simon Fraser)

The 11th being cast. The treble, 2 and 3 on the floor.
The 10th. The reverse of the 3rd with the ASCY mace head.
The 3rd.

Bells 4 and 5 are cast - 28th Nov
(pics Chris Kippin)

Pouring the 4th. Topping up he 4th.
Heather & Chris Kippin, Hilary & David Donoghue, with the 4th. The 4th an 5th.
Julia Slater (niece of the late Stan Mason) with the 5th. The treble, 2nd and 3rd, cast a few weeks earlier.
The 10th, cast a few weeks earlier.

The Clock Bell is rehung - 10th Dec
(pic Michael Poteliakoff)

The clock bell was cleaned and refitted at the Foundry.
It now weighs 3-3-3 and was rehung in the spire
on a new pair of RSJs.  When the electricity supply is
connected, it will sound the hours, the curfew, matins and
the angelus.

Dickon visited the foundry to see progress on 16th Dec

The scaffolding starts to come down revealing a clean and restored tower. The front of the 11th. The rear of the 11th.
The treble bell. The 2nd. The 10th.
This is an interesting picture of the G&J profile 11th in the background, with the newly cast tenor for Orleans in the USA, with a Mark III profile, in the foreground.  Both bells are similar in size so it is unusual to compare the two profiles in this way. The 5th. The 4th.
The frame begins to be build. The wheels have been completed. The headstocks all ready.

An inspection of the ringing room ceiling 23rd Dec. (pics Dickon Love)

The plaster has been removed from the ceiling to reveal the state of the rafters, which is not a pretty sight.  New batons and ceiling layers are to be built with the quality of the internal acoustics in mind.
In addition to the ceiling plaster, the plaster from the walls has been removed to reveal a stone finish, with layers of dressed stone every few feet.  Rather than replace the plaster as was originally planned, the stone finish is now to be cleaned and conserved.

Tower work on 13th Jan (pics Dickon Love).

Scaffold in the belfry. Scaffold in the ringing room.  The ceiling boards have been removed and the intermediate chamber can be seen above. The ringing room door has been removed and taken away for restoration.

At the Tower and the Foundry 14th January (pictures Neil Thomas)

Various St Magnus bells at the Foundry. The newly cast 6th. The old tenor headstock on its way down the tower.
The bell frame starts to take shape at the Foundry.

An inspection of the belfry Friday 30th Jan (pics Dickon Love)

The frame is now completely gone, 2 of the louvres are completely bricked up, with the other 2 partially blocked up awaiting the casting of padstones and variable sound control.

Casting of the tenor Friday 30th Jan (pics Dickon Love)

The tenor is in a pit beneath the large furnace.  Metal is poured directly from the furnace into the mould as the ladle (with a capacity of about a ton) is too small to be used. Watching the casting, next to the cope used for the 11th, is Michael Snow, John, Michael Moreton, Peter Sowerby and (on the ground) the Magnus verger, Nick Sargeant.
The tenor in its mould can be seen in the pit on the left hand side of this picture.  The ladle is on the right. The top of the tenor can be seen here, beneath the large furnace.
First view of the 6th, cast a month earlier. The second on the tuning machine, mid way through tuning.

Casting of the remaining bells (7,8,9) Friday 30th Jan (pics Dickon Love)

The inside of the large furnace (Photo David Hilling). Metal poured into the ladle (Photo David Hilling)
The 7th (ASCY Past Masters' bell) being cast. (Photo left DrL, Photo right DPH)
Michael Royalton-Kisch and Andrew Scott watching the 7th being cast. Andrew Scott (Prime Warden of the Fishmongers' when they agreed to sponsor one of the bells) and Keith Waters (Clerk to the Fishmongers') with the mould of the Fishmongers' bell behind them.
The 8th (Fishmongers' bell) being cast. (Photo left DPH, right DrL)
The 9th (Middlesex County Association bell) being cast. (Photo left DrL, right DPH)
ASCY Past Masters Dickon Love, Andrew Stubbs and David Hilling, standing next to the 7th (ASCY Past Masters') bell. (Photo left DrL, right DPH)
  Adrian Udal and Michael Royalton-Kisch standing next to the 9th (Middlesex) bell.
Peter Rumley and Andrew Scott standing with the 8th (Fishmongers') bell. Peter Rumley standing next to the treble (Plumbers') bell, which had been tuned a few days earlier (weighing 5-1-13).
The frame taking shape.
Spied in the corner of the foundry - the old metal frameside on the tenor and the old tenor headstock.

Update from the Bell Foundry Friday 6th Feb (pics Neil Thomas)

Ben Kipling finishing the 6th.. The tenor cope under construction.
The tenor in its pit. The Fishmongers' bell (8th). The Kippin bell (4th) being tuned.
The frame nears completion.

Building work continues in the tower. Saturday 21st Feb (pics Dickon Love)

The ceiling of the ringing room being repaired. The area round the door.
Various views within the belfry. Some of the window openings are now blocked off.  Others partly so ready for the variable sound control.  Part of the walls have been cut away to receive the frame.

Oli Scarff from Getty Images visited the Foundry on 25th February and captured the following:

The 10th on the tuning machine.  The 10th was the first bell to be cast and the last one to be tuned.
The bell was tuned by Ben Kipling.
The tenor.
Fitting the headstocks to the bells.

The Bells arrive at the Church. Monday 2nd March (pics Dickon Love unless otherwise stated)

Bells arrive on a truck. The tenor on the truck. The 11th lifted off the truck. The bell lined up in the church being decorated by the verger.
The tenor lifted off the truck.  Tim Joiner helps. More decoration.
The bells in the church (pic David Hilling) Two views of the 10th (pic David Hilling)
The back four in the church (pic David Hilling).

The Bells arrive at the Church. Monday 2nd March (these pictures taken by Oli Scarff of Getty Images)

Dickon Love looking up at the newly rehung clock bell. The 10th being lifted off the truck by Peter Scott.
    Dickon Love with the 11th.
This photo appeared in "The Daily Telegraph" the following day.  
Tim Joiner helped throughout the day.    
The tenor was pushed into the church while Michael Royalton-Kisch blasted Widor's Toccata on the organ.

The Consecration of the Bells. Tuesday 3rd March
(there will be a whole page devoted to this event, but until the pictures arrive, here is a sample. Pics Chris O'Neill.)

The Rt Revd Richard Chartres (Bishop of London), Dickon Love (Tower Keeper) and Fr Philip Warner (Priest-in-Charge) with the tenor bell. The bells awaiting consecration. The Bishop anoints the bells with the Oil of the Sick.
The Bishop anointing Rona Joiner's wedding bell.

The bells are hung in the tower. Pictures from 25th, 26th March
(Pictures Neil Thomas)

The 10th at the base of the tower. The treble on its way up.
Before each bell was raised into the tower, it was sounded by Fr Philip Warner, thus completing the ritual laid out in the pontifical blessings for consecrating the bells.  He is here with the tenor. The tenor on its way up. The tenor lowered into its pit.
All 12 bells now in place, with the tenor rung up (on the wheel) in the centre.

The hanging is complete and the hangers celebrate - 1st April
(Pictures Neil Thomas)

Neil Thomas and Peter Scott open a bottle of champagne on the cupola of the tower.  A slug of this champagne, provided by Tim Joiner (who took this photo) had gone into the upturned 6th bell - the Joiner Wedding Bell - for a more secular Christening.   Peter Scott in the upper room of the cupola on the tower toasting the photographer, who by this time had ascended The Monument to take this unusual shot.

The try out - 2nd April
(Pictures Neil Thomas)

All 12 bells in the up position! The new bells ring out for their test ring.
The ringers at the try out. A wider view of this picture reveals another important attender.
Neil Thomas, on behalf of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry,
presented Dickon Love with a plate carved out of the old bell frame,
and inscribed "St Magnus the Martyr 2009".
[Ed - And extremely chuffed he was with this marvellous gift, thank you!]

Easter Day 2009 (12th April)
The bells are rung after Mass for the congregation
(Pictures Dickon Love)

Ringing after Mass.
Members of the church listening to their new bells. Swaz Apter & Alan Flood.  
Mark Humphreys & Peter Valuks. Michael Royalton-Kisch and Przemek Benoński. Rona and Tim Joiner.
Dickon Love and Fr Philip Warner. Mark Humphreys & Helen Valuks, Frank Keating, Mark Humphreys, Helen & Peter Valuks,
  Ziggy and Colin.