Prior to the service at St Martins-in-the-Fields I had the privilege of going up the bell tower to see the bell ringers at work. Paul Southward, who’s been a bell ringer for 15 years, organises the ringing of the bells every year by TfL staff and members of the Guild of Railway Ringers. As we walked up the steps to the bell tower I could feel the stone walls vibrating and felt a real sense of excitement at seeing the band in action.
There were 14 bell ringers this year, so enough to ring the 12 bells, sometimes erroneously called a “peal of bells” which actually refers to a ringing performance of more than 5,000 changes, which we didn’t have time for before the service!
The band included a very interesting ringer who had actually cast them, the last bells he cast at Whitechapel bell foundry before moving to work for London Underground. The ringers rang a number of methods including Grandsire, Plain Bob and Steadman. Such history in those names! It was clearly hard work (very good exercise) and as you can see it takes intense concentration so no happy smiles for the camera!
So many thanks everyone for welcoming me to join you and making for such a special start to the Carol Service.