RW Centenary

A Right Royal Day Following the Sun

A friend asked whether I was going down to London for the RW Centenary Day and after confirming that I was, they then asked what was I going to do. That question made me think “Well, what will I do?” and, looking at the programme of events which I could join armed with my Royal ticket. I gave it some thought. Being a simple person I thought why not just follow the Sun going from East to West, so my plan began to take shape.

First I would go to Whitechapel Bell Foundry in E1; always good to see what’s happening in the UK’s oldest manufacturing company – might take a look at Brick Lane on the way. Then it’s on to the City of London; haven’t rung on the new bells at St Magnus yet, looking forward to that. There are, of course, some 60 towers going to be open around Greater London, so might fit some more in later. Whilst I’m in the City I could join one of the City walks; always fancied seeing the interiors of some of those glorious churches which, because they have no bells, we tend to ignore. Lots of history and I understand the tower of St Dunstan-in-the-West will be open, this is the Church where William Tyndale and John Donne preached and where Izaac Walton was a sidesman.

A quick trip now across to Pimlico to hear some of the Youth Striking Competition, interesting to hear how the latest generation are performing – probably better than me! Should be able to get a bite of lunch in the hall and see the exhibition whilst I am about it. Big question now, do I hop on the Victoria Line to Bond Street for the Carillon recital or the 24 bus to Trafalgar Square for the Art Exhibition at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery in nearby Pall Mall?

Anyway definitely going to the Westminster Abbey service and might just have time to have a peak round before the start – would cost a bomb if I didn’t have this ticket. After the service it’s a “no-brainer” – straight into Dean’s Yard for a quick go on the mini-rings and then a quenching pint in the Taylor beer tent. Listen to the Abbey bells perhaps as well, unless I’m really lucky in the draw to ring – doubt it!

Well nearly the end of the afternoon but still the musical hand bell concert in St Margaret’s to go: should be good. Then it’s off home, perhaps calling at some hostelry before the train, glad I’m not driving. Yes. On reflection I know what I’m going to do and it sounds a right Royal day!

CHRIS MEW

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers