Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Closing Bell

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Our mission is soon drawing to a close. Since time immemorial, bells have signaled the opening and/or closing, so it seems appropriate that we visited the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Whitechapel has been making bells since 1570 (some say 1420) and the foundry makes bells just as they were made over 500 years ago. Small ones, big ones, low tones, high tones…they made the Liberty bell and the 13 1/2 ton bell that chimes in London’s Big Ben.

The bells are cast from molten bronze (copper-tin) in a mold that is made of a loam material that consists of sand, clay, horse manure and goat hair. About the only change in the process from medieval times and church friars is the use of electronic equipment to test the pitch and resonance and a huge jig bore machine to remove material to tune the bell.

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Buckets of (L to R) manure, clay, sand, sand, goat hair.

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Small hand bells are made in the same way as the large cathedral bells, one at a time only polished and prettied…. as our tour guide said, “If they look good, they must sound good.” The bells we played at Christmas last year came from Whitechapel. A set of 12 bells on offer (that means on sale) go for £2,875 or about $4,700.

So unless I squeeze in another blog or two, here’s our ‘closing bell’. Turn your sound way up and listen.

Wishing you the best of everything.......

Elder & Sister Watts

6 comments:

Jane said...

wow I can't believe it's the end! I'm happy you've been able to see so many cool things. Love you.

CHARMAINE said...

Mike and I have enjoyed your mission blog. It makes me want to visit England again. Time does seem to pass quickly. We look forward to seeing you again at Empty Nesters and book club.

Melanie said...

Wow, I can't believe I stumbled on your mission webpage (via Charmaine's blog) now that you are about to return! We have missed you, and I have missed out, not reading your blog ;-D

Julie Freeman said...

That is fascinating! I can't believe what they use to make them. Thanks for sharing - love you!

shaunacd said...

we'll be at your ward for the mission talk. Will be good to see you. SCD

auntie libby said...

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "King Richard II", Act 2 scene 1

we shall miss you being there but will be very happy to have you nearby once again. farewell england, welcome home!