Cape Town, St. George's Cathedral
Format Extent5 colour photographs
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Photograph and information on the bells of St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town. The original chime had 8 bells, the current one 10. In the 1830s the cathedral was built along the lines of Saint Pancras in London according to the plans of Government Architect John Skirrow. A set of 8 bells was cast by Thomas Mears & Son Foundry in Whitechapel, close to London and was hung in the cathedral in 1835. The bells were supplied with clappers. Additional springs were attached to allow chiming but it is not clear whether the bells could swing a full circle. The present cathedral was started in 1901 under Herbert Baker as Diocesan Architect. Baker designed a tower with a spire somewhat detached from the main building but this was never erected. Also plans for a central tower had to be abolished. In 1952 the old tower was demolished and the bells were sent back to Whitechapel with the specific request to restore them as a ring of bells. Bells were recast on 24 January 1963 and arrived in Cape Town in February 1965. There they languished on the ground until a steel frame was erected outside the cathedral in 1970. In 1979 an octagonal tower was erected by architect Revel Fox who especially built it to house the change ringing set. The chime of 10 bells was dedicated on 29 September 1981. For more information on the ringers and the peals, we refer to papers by Colin Lewis who covers the history of the South African Guild of Church Bell Ringers which was founded in Grahamstown in 1988 and is still in existence at this date. The list shown in one of the pictures hangs on a wall inside the tower. It contains the names, the weights and the key notes of the bells. All bells carry the same decoration apart from the specific name of the bell. Below two moulding wires we find THOMAS MEARS OF LONDON ME FECIT AT WHITECHAPEL BELLFOUNDRY. This is followed by another two moulding wires and the inscription MY NAME IS which is followed by the specific name as given in the list. Again three moulding wires and another two on the sound bow can be found.