Whitechapel Bell Foundry Visit 2007

In December 2007
The UL went, in the rain,
With members from London and Devon,
To the East End (train-wise, quite a pain!)

Along the Whitechapel Road
Beyond the City bound’ry,
On rain-soaked feet we strode
To the Whitechapel Bell Foundry!

We stood in the entrance in presence of fame,
The ghost of a thousand news’ at ten
The shape of a bell that all there could name,
The biggest bell cast, old Big Ben!

With a guide with 100 stories,
Who sounded like Michael Caine,
We learnt of bells’ Harmonic glories
Which was anything but mundane!

In the attic on top of the main part,
Up some stairs now old and worn,
Was an area close to the president’s heart,
Where we learned how the hand-bell is born!

Our guide did explain how they hang ’em
From frames high up in a tower,
Hung up with the clappers that clang ’em
To ring out with gusto and power!

The funniest part of the tour,
When the guide asked us to confess
Was a showing of hands from the floor
Now I wonder if you can guess?

He talked to us about bell-swingers
(When asking who might understand)
“How many are not church bellringers?”
Only 5 people put up their hand!

By Jess Glaisher