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For Whom the Bell Tolls - London, Part 1

2015/8/17 — 11:00

Alan Regin is the steeple keeper of the Christ Church in Spitalfields. He got together a band of excellent ringers from all over UK for me to record, just hours after my arrival in the city. Here's Alan and his wife Joan "ringing the bell up" before the other ringers arrived

Alan Regin is the steeple keeper of the Christ Church in Spitalfields. He got together a band of excellent ringers from all over UK for me to record, just hours after my arrival in the city. Here's Alan and his wife Joan "ringing the bell up" before the other ringers arrived

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" Article Series Here

In London, I was introduced to the world of English-style change-ringing by two remarkable individuals. Alan Regin is an experienced ringer and the steward of the Rolls of Honour at St Paul's Cathedral, which recorded the names of all known ringers who'd fallen in the two great wars. Alan showed me the two beautiful volumes that sit in a vitrine outside of the ringing chamber, handcrafted by Timothy Noah and carefully maintained by Alan, with new names added frequently. Alan took me to other restricted access areas, such as the room where the remains of the burnt-down portion of the cathedral are now stored. In the ringing chamber we looked at the peal board that recorded the peal that was rung on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. I sketched and recorded the sound of the Great Paul - the heaviest bell in the UK.

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And finally we reach the vitrine where the Rolls of Honour is stored. These volumes recorded the names of all of the bell-ringers who'd fallen in the two great wars.

And finally we reach the vitrine where the Rolls of Honour is stored. These volumes recorded the names of all of the bell-ringers who'd fallen in the two great wars.

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The Rolls of Honour is stored in an area that is not accessible by the general public. To get there we had to go through a storage room where the remains of the burnt-down portion of the cathedral are currently stored.

The Rolls of Honour is stored in an area that is not accessible by the general public. To get there we had to go through a storage room where the remains of the burnt-down portion of the cathedral are currently stored.

Alan is also the steeple keeper of the Christ Church in Spitalfields. He got together a band of excellent ringers from all over UK for me to record, just hours after my arrival in the city. One of the ringers who rang that morning served in Northern Ireland during the turbulent years. He described to me how he would hear the bells ring on Sundays from his outpost, and wished that he was in the tower ringing instead of being on the ground.

This is the all Saints Church in Wokingham, which had a ring of six bell installed in as early as 1704.

This is the all Saints Church in Wokingham, which had a ring of six bell installed in as early as 1704.

John Harrison, the church's steeple keeper.

John Harrison, the church's steeple keeper.

John Harrison was my initial entry point into the world of ringers. He is the steeple keeper of the All Saints Church in Wokingham, which had a ring of six bell installed in as early as 1704. I observed and recorded the Wokingham band's weekly practice session, and witnessed how bell-ringing is taught to less experienced ringers.

 

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Artist website - http://www.thismusicisfalse.com
Project website - http://www.bmw-art-journey.com
BMW Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/bmw

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