Bells of the City of Westminster


 
The Queen's Tower
 

South Kensington, The Queen's Tower, Imperial College


Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)*
Diameter Note Date FounderRetuned
® 1 Maud 6-2-1629½" F 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 2 Victoria 7-2-2130½" E♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 3 Louise 8-1-533" D♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 4 George 9-0-1934" C 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 5 Albert Victor 10-3-1437½" B♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 6 Arthur 13-1-1840⅝" A♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 7 Alfred 16-2-1944½" G♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 8 Alexandra 20-2-2447½" F 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 9 Albert Edward 27-0-052½" E♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever
® 10 Viictoria 38-1-1559⅜" D♭ 1893 John Taylor & Co., LoughboroughNever

* Source of weight figures: John Taylor records, 1893
®  - Hung for full circle ringing

History

1887 The building of the Imperial Institute, designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt FRIBA began.
1893 A ring of 10 bells was cast by John Taylor & Co. originally as a gift to Queen Victoria from the Australian millionairess Elizabeth M. Millar of Melbourne. They were dedicated to the Princess of Wales (as is recorded on the 8th Bell) and thus known as the "Alexandra Peal". The Imperial Institute was opened by Queen Victoria on 10 May and the bells were rung by the College and Cumberland Youths.

Articles

  • "The "Queen's" Tower of the former Imperial Institute", The Editor (Ringing World) 12 May 1972
  • "Centenary of the Alexandra Peal", Buswell C, Edwards, C F (The Ringing World) 7 May 1993
  • "The Imperial Institute Bells", Crowest, F J (Supplement to The Graphic) 13 May 1893
  • Documents


    The frame layout.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 2007

    The tower moves considerably when the bells are rung. This movement is closely followed by engineering students in the College.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 2007

    The inscriptions in the dome of the tower.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 2007

    Ringing at the Queen's Tower.
    Photo: Newspaper, 18 Mar 1893

    The belfry


    The 8th inscription.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 2007

    The founder's mark.
    Photo: Dickon R Love, 2007

    Dedications of the bells

    The bells were named after Queen Victoria and members of her family, as follows:

    Edward and Alexandra's living children:

    1

    Maud 1869 - 1938
    2 Victoria 1868 - 1935
    3 Louise 1867 - 1931
    4 George (later George V) 1865 1936
    5 Albert Victor 1864 1892

    Queen Victoria's children:

    6 Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert 1850 - 1942 (Edward's brother)
    7 Prince Alfred Ernest Albert 1844 - 1900 (another brother of Edward)
    8 Princess Alexandra (wife of Edward) 1844 - 1925.
    9 Prince Albert Edward (later Edward VII) 1841 - 1910.

    (A further brother, Leopold George Duncan Albert 1853 - 1884 died before the bells were cast)

    And the Monarch herself:

    10 Queen Victoria 1819 - 1901.

    Access



     
    Staircase Type No of steps

    Position

    Ground floor to balcony Octagonal, around the walls 60

     

    Balcony level to first room Metal spiral 29

    First room to second room Metal spiral 24

    Second room to third room Stone spiral 29

    Third room for fourth room Stone spiral 44
    Fourth room to tank level Stone spiral 23
    Tank level to ringing chamber Stone spiral 30
    Ringing chamber to belfry Stone spiral 28
    Belfry to viewing gallery Metal spiral 30
    Viewing gallery to base of dome Metal spiral 28
        •
    Base of dome to top of dome Wooden spiral 53

      •

    There are 239 steps from the ground floor to the ringing room, and 378 to the top of the dome.
     
    Love's Guide to the Bells of the City of Westminster Page updated: 15 April 2022