Bells of London to Resound on July 31

Greater vaccine adoption across England means that the beleaguered City of London is finally able to reopen. COVID-19 restrictions across the city are being eased and people are gathering together again. Certainly reason to celebrate!

To mark the occasion, bells are set to ring out on Saturday, July 31, at the invitation of the Lord Mayor and the Archdeacon of London. The sound of pealing bells has been another casualty of the long and devastating pandemic, forcing change ringers who typically practice their rigorous art in narrow towers to stay at home instead. 

Now, the silence is finally set to be broken with a city-wide call for as many bells to ring as possible. The day will begin with the thunderous ringing of Great Paul at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The largest bell ever cast in the British Isles, weighing in at 16½ tons, Great Paul hasn’t been rung properly for over a decade. It will kick-off the day of ringing at 9:20am local time and ring again in the afternoon in the presence of the Lord Mayor.

Throughout the day, bells across the city will join the celebratory clamor. Dickon Love, captain of the Royal Jubilee Bells at the church of St. James Garlickhythe, is coordinating the pealing. Groups of change ringers are asked to register a set time for one or more quarter peals, with other tower bells encouraged to contribute to the general ringing.

We can’t think of a better way to mark the reopening of London than with the tintinnabulation of hundreds of bells. As the day winds to a close, bell ringers will gather for a pint to toast their ringing success. Cheers to making it ring!

Cover image: View over London and the northwest bell tower at St. Paul’s Cathedral. With 12 change-ringing bells, it forms the world’s second largest ring of bells.