Houses of Parliament quarter bells

oakcroft13 bill at h...
Wed Apr 24 23:09:58 BST 2002

Following up on the enquiry about the weights and pitches of the 'Big 
Ben' quarter bells: I recently created a model relating nominal 
frequency to weight for the Manchester Town Hall carillon, as part of 
an investigation I was doing into their scale. Plugging the nominals 
of these bells into the model gave the following results. All weights 
are in pounds (converted from kilogrammes out of respect for the list 

Bell Nominal Actual wt. Predicted wt.
1 869.5 Hz 2352 lbs 1631 lbs
2 777.1 Hz 2912 lbs 2069 lbs
3 679.0 Hz 3774 lbs 2663 lbs
4 505.4 Hz 8732 lbs 4783 lbs

so that the bells are between 40% and 80% heavier than modern ringing 
bells with the same nominal. By an astonishing co-incidence, the 
nominal of the Town Hall tenor is 505.3 Hz - exactly the same as the 
heaviest quarter. The Taylor bell (without canons, of course) is 42-2-
25 or 4785 lbs in weight, the heaviest quarter 77-3-24. Grimthorpe 
must have been a pretty persuasive chap for people to fork out so 
much extra money for these bells!

Bill H

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