WESTMINSTER
GLOCKENSPIEL, LEICESTER SQUARE

 
A chime of 27 bells attached to a clock, tune machine and keyboard port
Bass: 5-0-14 (weight before retuning) in C
Frames: Smith of Derby
Grid Ref: TQ298807
Performs Mon - Fri for up to five minutes commencing at 12pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm, and in addition plays on Sat, Sun and public holidays for five minutes commencing at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

DETAILS OF THE BELLS

Bell

Name

Weight
(kg)

Weight
(cwt-qtr-lbs)

Diameter

Note

Cast

Founder
1 Switzerland 5.5kg 0-0-12 200mm E 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
2 Switzerland 7.5kg 0-0-17 230mm D 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
3 Zurich 12kg 0-0-26 240mm C sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
4 Berne 12kg 0-0-26 240mm C 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
5 Lucerne 13kg 0-1-1 250mm B 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
6 Schwyz 14kg 0-1-3 260mm A sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
7 Unterwalden 16kg 0-1-7 275mm A 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
8 Glarus 18kg 0-1-12 285mm G sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
9 Zug 20kg 0-1-16 300mm G 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
10 Solothurn 23kg 0-1-23 315mm F sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
11 Basel 26kg 0-2-1 330mm F 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
12 Shaffenhausen 29kg 0-2-8 345mm E 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
13 St Gallen 33kg 0-2-17 360mm D sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
14 Appenzell 37kg 0-2-25 380mm D 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
15 Aargau 42kg 0-3-8 395mm C sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
16 Uri 47kg 0-3-19 420mm C 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
17 Thurgau 51kg 1-0-0 435mm B 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
18 Liechtenshtein 56kg 1-0-11 450mm A sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
19 Vaud 63kg 1-0-27 470mm A 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
20 Neuchatel 72kg 1-1-18 495mm G sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
21 Fribourg 85kg 1-2-19 520mm G 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
22 Valais 97kg 1-3-17 550mm F sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
23 Geneva 112kg 2-0-22 580mm F 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
24 Ticino 133kg 2-2-13 620mm E 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
25 Jura 155kg 3-0-5 650mm D sharp 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
26 Switzerland 185kg 3-2-15 690mm D 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland
27 Graubunden 261kg 5-0-14 770mm C 1985 Rüetschi of Aarau, Switzerland

These are the weights recorded when the bells were cast in 1985, given to the nearest kg (2 lbs).
They will have reduced a little each ifwhen further tuning took place in 2011.

The bells are each generally inscribed with the name of a different Swiss canton in the inscription band, with the name of a different Westminster ward along the sound bow. On the waist of each bell is a shield of shields of the canton to which it is dedicated.

1.
1291 SWITZERLAND 1985
 

 
1585 WESTMINSTER 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
2.
1291 SWITZERLAND 1985
 

 
1585 WESTMINSTER 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
3. ZURICH
 

 
1585 BAKER STREET 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
4. BERNE
 

 
1585 BAYSWATER 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
5. LUCERNE
 

 
1585 BELGRAVE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
6. SCHWYZ
 

 
1585 BRYANSTON 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
7. UNTERWALDEN
 

    

 
1585 CAVENDISH 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
8. GLARUS
 

 
1585 CHURCH STREET 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
9. ZUG
 

 
1585 CHURCHILL 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
10. SOLOTHURN
 

 
1585 HAMILTON TERRACE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
11. BASEL
 

    

 
1585 HARROW ROAD 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
12. SCHAFFHAUSEN
 

 
1585 HYDE PARK 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
13. ST. GALLEN
 

 
1585 KNIGHTSBRIDGE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
14. APPENZELL
 

 
1585 LANCASTER GATE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
15. AARGAU
 

 
1585 LORDS 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
16. URI
 

 
1585 LITTLE VENICE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
17. THURGAU
 

 
1585 MAIDA VALE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
18.
1791 LIECHTENSTEIN 1985
 

    

 
1585 CITY OF WESTMINSTER 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
19. VAUD
 

 
1585 MILLBANK 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
20. NEUCHATEL
 

 
1585 ST. GEORGE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
21. FRIBOURG
 

 
1585 REGENTS PARK 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
22. VALAIS
 

 
1585 QUEEN'S PARK 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
23. GENEVA
 

 
1585 ST JAMES'S 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
24. TICINO
 

 
1585 WESTBOURNE 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
25. JURA
 

 
1585 WEST END 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
26.
1291 SWITZERLAND 1985
 

    

 
1585 CITY OF WESTMINSTER 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
27. GRAUBUNDEN
 

 
1585 VICTORIA 1985
RUETSCHI AARAU SWITZERLAND
 

ARRANGEMENT

Top tier
(North at top)

   

20
Neuchatel
(G#)

   
   

24
Ticino
(E)

   

23
Geneva
(F)

27
Graubunden
(C)

¨

25
Jura
(B#)

21
Fribourg
(G)

   

26
Switzerland
(D)

   
   

22
Valais
(F#)

   

Middle tier

   

12
Shaffenhausen
(E)

   
   

16
Uri
(C)

   

15
Aargau
(C#)

19
Vaud
(A)

¨

17
Thurgau
(B)

13
St Gallen
(D#)

   

18
Liechtenstein
(A#)

   
   

14
Appenzell
(D)

   

Bottom tier

     

4
Berne
(C)

     
     

8
Glarus
(G#)

     

3
Zurich
(C#)

7
Unterwalten
(A)

11
Basel
(F)

¨

9
Zug
(G)

5
Lucerne
(B)

1
Switzerland
(E)

     

10
Solothurn
(F#)

     
     

6
Schwyz
(A#)

     
     

2
Switzerland
(D)

     
 

HISTORY

1985

Known as “The Glockenspiel”, 25 bells were presented by Switzerland Tourism on behalf of the people of Switzerland and Leichtenstein to the City of Westminster in 1985.  They were cast by Rüetschi of Aarau in Switzerland and given to mark the City’s 400th anniversary.  They were opened on 20th November, 1985.  Shortly afterwards, more bells were added bringing the total to 27 by November the following year.  As well as being a clock chime and acting as a manual carillon, up to two hundred different tunes could also be played on them automatically.

2008 The Swiss Centre was demolished and the bells put into storage.  Efforts were made to see the bells restored to a new location in Leicester Square in the face of opposition from local businesses.
2011 A new 10m high tower was constructed by Smith of Derby.  The bells were tuned and restored by Rüetschi, given new hammers and hung in the tower. The Glockenspiel was inaugurated on 28th November.

GALLERY

(Above) The Glockenspiel hanging from the side of the Swiss Centre before demolition in 2008.

(Below) Pictures of the bells in the Glockenspiel taken by Dickon Love from the scaffolding when the tower was erected in 2011.