On Thursday the 6th of August I went on an outing organised by All Saints Church to Taylor's Bell Foundry at Loughborough, in Leicestershire. Along with some members from Walkington and Bishop Burton, we set off at 9:30am. Dad and myself and a friend called Adam were in our car. On the way there Adam was sick so we had to take a detour via Nottingham to get the car cleaned up. Luckily we found a hand car wash, and they were able to clean out the car. After Adams trousers had been pressure washed and tumble dried at the car wash, we were able to get back on our way.

This meant that we were late arriving at Joys for lunch, so most of the food had already been eaten!

After lunch we made our way to the foundry. When we arrived, we had a look around the gift shop before we started the tour. First we went to see the old furnace in which the bell metal is melted to cast the bells. Then we saw a selection of different bells, and I got to hit each bell with a wooden hammer. Some were made from different types of metal, and some were different shapes and sizes. The different types of metal, and different shapes of the bell made them all sound different.

Then we went across the foundry to the tuning shop where we saw the big vertical boring lathe which was 109 years old and is still used now! The bell is fixed onto a revolving table and spins upside down - then an arm with a cutting tool fixed to it cuts away at different places inside the bell, and tunes different notes into the bell. Upto 5 notes can be tuned into a single bell. Then we went to the casting workshop were we watched them cast 4 hand bells by pouring molten bell metal into the prepared custom made sand moulds.

Taylor's also cast the Beverley Minster Bells in 1901, which is where my Dad and I bellring. The minster has 10 bells in the north tower, the tenor bell is just over 2 tons in weight. The south tower holds the Great John Bell which is 7 tons, and is the ninth heaviest bell in England.

After our tour of the foundry, we went to a small village outside Loughborough called Hathern. Here we had tea, and as some of the Walkington bell ringers were with us, Dad, Adam and I made up a band of eight and we were able to have a ring on the village church bells, which was great fun. Dad also played the organ which had recently been restored. We then left on our journey home having had a great day.

I would like to thank Joy for organising such a great day out which we all really enjoyed.

Editor's note

Bradley is twelve years old and is very young to be a bell ringer. He can ring the No.8 bell at the Minster which is one ton and this, I am told, helps to keep him fit along with running up the one hundred and fifty steps or so to ring the bell. Well done Bradley - thank you for the article and glad you had a good day.

(1st published in the Bishop Burton Newsletter)

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