ABOUT LOUGHBOROUGH BELLFOUNDRY
Since 1859, the grade II* listed Loughborough Bellfoundry, home to historic bellmakers John Taylor & Co., has cast more than 25,000 bells that are hung in over 100 countries around the world.
Since 1859, our grade II* listed bellfoundry has cast more than 25,000 bells that are hung in more than 100 countries around the world. Peals of bells from our foundry ring out from towers all over the English-speaking world, and beyond, and are widely regarded as the finest instruments of their kind.
Closer to home, Taylor bells hang in nearly every cathedral in England and in thousands of parish churches. From Inverary in the north to Truro in the South West, from London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral to York Minster, Taylor bells have defined the soundscape of Britain for more than two centuries.
Think you’ve never heard a Taylor bell? Think again. Taylor bells are ever-present for millions of people, ringing out for celebrations, coronations, jubilees, the end of conflict or simply intimate life moments like weddings, christenings and funerals.
The bellfoundry is the birthplace of some of the largest civic and cathedral bells in the world, but Loughborough bells can also be encountered in more surprising places. The bells that can be heard in the classic Christmas song Fairytale of New York were cast by Taylor’s for St. Thomas’s Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City. AC/DC’s iconic “Hell’s Bell”, which toured with the band in the early 1980s, was also brought to life right here in Loughborough!
Click the map to discover more about our bells
Loughborough Memorial Carillon, Queen’s Park, Loughborough
Built between 1922 and 1923, the tower contains 47 carillon bells, each individually tuned to allow it to be played with the others. The carillon acts as the town war memorial, with the largest bell dedicated to the memory of the three Taylor sons killed in action.
Great George, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Not to be confused with its namesake at Bristol University, the bourdon bell at Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral weighs in at just under 15 tons. Cast by Taylor’s in 1940, it is the second heaviest church bell in Britain.
Great Abel, Manchester Town Hall
Named after the Manchester mayor who championed the construction of the building, this impressive clock bell weighs in at more than 8 tons. It first sounded out on New Year’s day 1879.
Great Paul, St Paul’s Cathedral, London
The largest church bell in Britain, Great Paul was cast by Taylor’s in 1881. It currently sits in the South West Tower of St Paul’s Cathedral, where it rings out to this day.
Ring of Ten, Inverary Bell Tower, Scotland
The northernmost ring of bells in the UK, this ring of ten was cast by Taylor’s in Loughborough in 1920. Unfortunately the journey from the bellfoundry to Inverary was not a smooth one: the first lorry broke down in Lancashire and the second struggled as it approached the tower. In the end, some of the bells and frames had to be left behind to allow the lorry to ascend, though they were of course collected the following day!
Great George, Wills Tower, Bristol Universit
Weighing in at around nine tons, it is the largest bell in Bristol and the third largest bell that can be swung by rope and wheel in the country. It is named after George V, English architect George Oatley, and George Wills, who was responsible for the building of the Wills Memorial Building in memory of his father.
Change Ringing Bells, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
This historic tower contains the world’s highest number of change ringing bells, probably including at least one bell from around the date of the cathedral’s foundation. The ring was augmented with seven Taylor bells in 1999 to give a grand total of 20 bells, 19 for change ringing and one chiming bell.
Canberra National Carillon, Canberra
Completed in 1970, the carillon was a gift from the British government to the people of Australia to celebrate 50 years of the national capital. Representing a symbolic link between Britain and Australia, the carillons bells and mechanism were designed and manufactured by Taylor’s.
Ring of Eight, St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide
Known for its musical reputation, St Peter’s cathedral sits in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. The Taylor’s ring of eight is the heaviest ring of bells in Australia and includes the heaviest tenor bell in the Southern hemisphere.
Ring of Thirteen, Christchurch Cathedral, New Zealand
The thirteen bells of Christchurch Cathedral have a dramatic history! Cast in Loughborough in 1978, the bells hung in the cathedral for 33 years before falling from their earthquake stricken tower in 2011. Amazingly the bells remained intact and were returned to their East Midlands birthplace for repair!
Ring of Thirteen, Trinity Church, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Dating from 2006, this tower has the unique honour of being the only peal of twelve change ringing bells in the USA. A thirteenth bell was added by Taylor’s in 2016.
Bok Tower, Lake Wales, Florida
This impressive 60 bell carillon installation was completed by Taylor’s in 1927. A National Historic Landmark in the United States, the tower is 205 feet tall and stands at one of the state’s highest points.
University of Kansas Campanile, Lawrence, Kansas
Unquestionably the most distinguished building at the University of Kansas, this World War II Memorial Carillon was built in 1950 to honour the 277 staff and students killed in action during the conflict. It contains a 53-bell carillon cast by Taylor’s during 1950-1.
Rainbow bridge Carillon, Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada
Taylor’s began the bell castings for the Rainbow Carillon in 1941, but the work was then interrupted by the onset of World War 2. A fun fact about this tower is that it featured in the 1953 Marilyn Monroe thriller Niagara!
St George’s Church, Vernet-les-Bains, France
Les cloches de St. George is France’s first set of English Change-Ringing Bells. The bells, all made by Taylor’s, first rang out on Palm Sunday 2019.
St George’s Church, Ypres, Belgium
The ring at Ypres is the first and only peal of change ringing bells in Belgium. The bells were cast by John Taylor and Company just a few years ago to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Malta Siege Bell, Valletta, Malta
One of the largest and most important Taylor commissions in recent years, the Memorial Siege Bell of Valetta weighs in at an impressive 10898 kg. Perched above the harbour, the bell is a simple monument to all those who fought and died for their country during the Second World War.
The City Hall, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rotterdam’s magnificent city hall or Stadhuis is a must see for visitors to the area. Four of the carillon bells were cast here at Taylor’s in 1921.
The City Hall, Cape Town, South Africa
The bells here were cast by Taylor’s with the clock being supplied by JB Joyce and company of Whitchurch. The City Hall’s carillon was installed as a World War I war memorial, with 22 additional bells being added in 1925 with the visit of the Prince of Wales.
St Andrew’s Cathedral, City Hall, Downtown Core, Singapore
A peal of 8 bells were presented to the cathedral in 1889 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Singapore. Cast at Taylor’s, each of the eight bronze bells is named after an apostle of Christ.
The Custom House, Shanghai, China
The five bells (the largest of which is 6 tons) were cast by Taylor’s while the clock mechanism was built by JB Joyce and Company. The parts were all built in England before being shipped to Shanghai in 1927. The Shanghai Custom House clock remains the largest mechanical clock in Asia.
The Cathedral, Seoul, South Korea
The bell for the cathedral in Seoul is one of just a few Taylor’s cathedral bells in this part of the world. Cast in 1926 it weighs in at 2 tons 1 cwt 3qrs 0 lbs.
Where we are today:
The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust
The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust was established as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in 2016 with the objective of protecting the historic John Taylor bellfoundry buildings, archive and museum collections for future generations. Since its inception the Trust has delivered substantial urgent repairs to the foundry site and has recently secured a major grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Enterprise scheme for a site-wide refurbishment and the creation of a brand new visitor experience.
Supported by a passionate team of Trustees, Volunteers and Staff, our vision is for the Loughborough Bellfoundry to become the global centre for the art of bellmaking and learning. The sound of Taylor bells can be heard all over the planet, and by protecting this legacy, we can ensure that future generations on every continent will be brought together by A Ring of Taylor Bells.
Meet our trustees!
Hannah Taylor – Trustee
HANNAH TAYLOR is an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs and Head of the Company Secretariat for EMEA, based out of their London office. Hannah has worked for Goldman Sachs for 10 years and has diverse Corporate Governance and Company Secretarial experience having also worked at Blackrock, Burberry, HSBC and One Housing, a London-based housing association.
Hannah’s background is in corporate governance, board effectiveness and corporate secretarial skills, and she is a qualified Company Secretary (ICSA). With much of her experience gained in high-profile investment and retail banks, Hannah has worked within a highly regulated environment for much of her career.
Hannah learned to ring as a child and on moving to London after university joined the band at Southwark Cathedral, one of the most active ringing societies in both London and the UK. In 2015 Hannah was elected to be the Ringing Master of Southwark Cathedral Society and led the appeal to rehang the bells of the Cathedral, which was completed in 2018. Hannah is now the Deputy Ringing Master at Southwark and continues to be an active member of the band.
Tim Bradley – Trustee
TIM BRADLEY is a Chartered Surveyor working for the City of York Council as an Asset Manager. His working background includes property management and valuation. Tim learnt to ring in York and for nearly 40 years rang at York Minster. It was here that his love of Taylor bells was nurtured, both by ringing at the Minster – widely regarded as the finest ring of bells in the world – and by visiting many other towers.
Over his ringing career, Tim has had the opportunity to ring on many fine Taylor bells. He has also been involved in restoration and rehanging schemes for rings of bells in York. As a result, he became very interested in the technical side of bellfounding and bell hanging, particularly the products of the Loughborough Bellfoundry. Tim says, “Being appointed one of the Trustees of the Loughborough Bellfoundry has been a great honour for me, and I hope to be able to use my property background and qualifications, as well as my knowledge and love of Taylor bells, to contribute towards the project to restore the foundry buildings and infrastructure, as well as the ongoing responsibilities of the Trust.”
Robert Cooles – Trustee
ROBERT COOLES has been a change ringer for virtually 60 years and during that time has always had an interest in, and at times an involvement with, the Taylor’s Bell Foundry at Loughborough. As a Solicitor, he was involved when the Foundry was rescued by its present Directors in 2009.
He has since been involved with the plans and arrangements to ensure that the Foundry remains the principal Foundry in the world for the casting and hanging of first-class ringing bells, both for change ringing and for carillons.
David Potter – Trustee
DAVID POTTER’s involvement with The Loughborough Bellfoundry dates back several decades during which he led various schemes that brought about the restoration of bells and bell ringing in the City of York. For this work he was awarded an M.B.E. by H M Queen Elizabeth II.
He has always admired the sound of Taylor bells and was part of the consortium that purchased the Foundry from the Administrators in 2009 when it was in financial difficulty. Since then he has been a member of the team that has set up The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust and has seen Taylor’s trade successfully.
Andrew Slade – Trustee
ANDREW SLADE was born in Enfield, Middlesex. He learned to handle a bell on the Gillet 8 at Cheshunt and to ring at Waltham Abbey on the Taylor 12. He was elected to the Society of College Youths of London in 1967, a society of which he celebrated 50 years membership in 2017.
Andrew is married with two children and is currently based in the North of England. He was Lecturer of Mathematics at Durham University for almost 20 years, then moved to become a Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at two other universities before moving to his current role as Deputy Vice Chancellor at Leeds Beckett University. He spent over 30 years as Tower Captain at Richmond, North Yorkshire where he also spent many happy hours performing at the Theatre Royal Richmond in over 60 plays.
Andrew’s claim to fame is that he taught Peter Davidson and others to ring bells for two of the BBC’s All Creatures Great and Small films. He currently rings with the Leeds Cathedral Band, to whom he is grateful for getting him back to serious ringing with a different surprise major method every week. Professor Slade still works with Leeds Beckett University at a very senior level. He hopes that this experience coupled with his bell ringing background can be of service to the Foundry at this interesting and exciting time.
Michael Williams – Trustee
MICHAEL WILLIAMS first visited the Loughborough Bellfoundry to ring on the Foundry’s famous bells and during his visit was excited to learn about how bells are made and tuned. Watching the casting of a bell is such a spectacular sight, and it is remarkable to imagine that the bell will likely ring out for many centuries.
Michael is a professional librarian at the University of Cambridge and is interested in the extensive archives and collections of the Bellfoundry. He hopes the project will enable the archives and museum to become more appealing and accessible to visitors. Michael regularly rings the bells at Great St Mary’s in Cambridge, where Taylor’s replaced the old bells with a brand-new set in 2009.
Andrew Wilby – Trustee
ANDREW WILBY is a founding Trustee and one of the three owners who vested the Bellfoundry buildings, archive, museum, and historic equipment in the Trust for posterity. He has a long history of service to the bell-ringing community, serving as Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths [the world’s premier ringing society] in 1978, as Secretary from 1981 to 1991, and as a Representative to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers since 1978. His service there includes as Commercial Director of the Ringing World, as Chairman of the Public Relations Committee, and membership of several other committees, including the founding of the Tower Stewardship Committee.
In addition, Andrew has project-managed several major bell restoration schemes in the UK and overseas, including the Bells of Old Bailey Holborn, Trinity Wall Street in New York, and the Swan Tower in Perth, Western Australia. In 1974 he founded the National 12 Bell Contest. Since 1981 he has been a resident ringer in Towcester, Northants, where he led that restoration and augmentation project in 1989. Similarly, following the restoration of the bells of St Helen’s Lundy Island, he has been Ringing Master of the Lundy Island Society. Since 2012 and the restoration project for that church he has been Churchwarden.
Andrew was formerly Director of Logistics at Eurostar UK Ltd and subsequently served as an elected member of South Northamptonshire Council, becoming Chairman in 2012. He has been Chairman of John Taylor & Co., leading the revival of the company’s fortunes, since 2008.
Meet our trustees! Click the trustee to find out more.