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Bells have been heard from the tower of St Katharine Cree since at least the 16th century. The church survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. The tower is the oldest part of the building, the lower stages of which date from 1504. There have always been at least five bells in the tower, the first ring having been a ring of six (first recorded in 1552).
To ensure that the bells ring for many generations of Londoners to come, we recently joined up with the leading society of bell ringers in London, the Middlesex County Association and London Diocesan Guild of Ringers, to see the bells restored.
Work undertaken to restore the bells in 2009 included:
- Removal of the bells to Whitechapel Bell Foundry
- Cleaning and careful tuning of the bells to form a true diatonic scale
- Carefully extracting the rusting iron crown staples
- All bells being provided with new fittings
- A new iron and steel frame to be installed to accommodate the six bells
- All necessary building and electrical work in the tower
- Work to install a variable sound control ceiling over the installation period
Now the bells are restored, there is no reason why they should not ring out from the belfry for another 500 years. We are thankful to all those who contributed to this appeal, who will leave a legacy, not just for one generation, but for many generations to come.
The six bells of St Katharine's before restoration in 2009
photo Phil Manning