[Bell Historians] Steel bell at St Peter's Italian Church, London

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford at t...
Sat Sep 28 08:39:51 BST 2002

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This stuff from my "London and M25" notes may help - you'll see that Tyssen=
took a rubbing of the inscription before it corroded. The testimonial stuf=
f is rather interesting. Look forward to seeing an up to date description:

Clerkenwell, St.Peter (the Italian Church), Clerkenwell Road (R.C.) (Midd=

Church founded in 1846 and built between 1853 and 1862 to the designs of J.=
M. Bryson - a building noted for its interior rather than for its external =
view (Evinson pp.78-80)

Ex.inf. David Sloman, July 2001 - There is a very large steel bell here. Ni=
gel Taylor has seen it

Eeles Church Bells of Kincardineshire (1897) p.50 mentions a 90" bell cast =
by Naylor, Vickers & Co for St.Peter's (RC), Hatton Gardens, London

Rubbings in Tyssen Collection, Society of Antiquaries, "Middlesex" p.114-20=
: Bell at "St.Peter (RC), Hatton Wall" by "NAYLOR VICKERS & Co SHEFFIELD 18=
62 CAST STEEL / (pattern and monogram NV & Co) / PATENT 2864" (diameter not=

Naylor Vickers catalogue gives weight of 90" bell as 9740 lbs (i.e. 87 cwt)

Testimonial to Naylor Vickers from Joseph Faa De Bruno, Rector of the Itali=
an Church, London, 22 Hatton Wall, Hatton Gardens, EC, n.d. "Gentlemen, I f=
eel much pleasure in stating that the large steel bell, 7 feet 6 inches in =
diameter, and weighing three tons and a half, which was exhibited by you in=
the International Exhibition last year, and which I have purchased for the=
New Italian Church of St.Peter, Hatton Wall, Hatton Garden, has given gene=
ral satisfaction, and is much admired for the fullness and softness of its =
sound, which is heard at a great distance in spite of the disadvantage of i=
ts being hung in a temporary place, only 12 feet from the ground. But I mus=
t say that it gives more satisfaction to me the purchaser, who has given th=
e presefernce to Cast Steel over Bronze Bells, having thereby obtained a go=
od result with a good saving. If with the money spent for this Bell I had b=
ought a Bronze one, it would most certainly have been much inferior in weig=
ht, size and sound. A Bronze Bell equal in tone would have made me two or t=
hree hundred pounds out of pocket to no purpose. Every day people have the =
opportunity of hearing the big bell at 7.45 in the evening and they may jud=
ge for themselves

Pawson & Brailsford's Illustrated Sheffield Guide (1862) p.122 refers to th=
e casting of "the large bell which is being shown by the firm in the Inter=
national Exhibition, and which weighs nearly five tons, no less than 176 cr=
ucibles of steel had to be poured"

Note from Nigel Taylor (Whitechapel), April 2002 - "Going from memory, the =
bell is 7'-5" diameter, weighs about 4 tons, and sounds the note Ab. The be=
ll is rather corroded, and sounds like an enormous gong! The bell is larger=
than the brick turret, indeed the lip is just clear of the louvres. The be=
ll must have been erected before the turret was completed. The bell can be =
accessed from underneath, via a ladder and trap door; but you cannot get pa=
st the bell! To see the outside, you have to climb onto the roof and thence=
through a small door in the louvres, The bell has an enormous odd looking =
clapper and is clocked. I seem to remember that the staple was independent.=

Chris P
----- Original Message -----=20
From: Bill Hibbert=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2002 12:08 AM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Steel bell at St Peter's Italian Church, Londo=

This bell certainly exists: try=20
http://www.hibberts.co.uk/belllist.htm#steelmonst and follow the=20
link. Unfortunately PC speakers don't do this bell justice, to really=20
appreciate its finer qualities you need lots of bass.

Basic details: 228.5cm in diameter (about 7'6"), nominal 395.6 Hz (G=20
+15). Inscription unfortunately pretty much unreadable.

Many thanks to Dickon for coming to help. Proper write-up follows.

Bill H

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