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Great George to chime for anniversary of University’s Royal Charter

Great George being rung manually

Great George being rung manually

Press release issued: 22 May 2013

Great George, the nine-and-a-half-ton bell in the tower of the University of Bristol’s Wills Memorial Building, will ring for five minutes at 1.30pm today [Wednesday, 22 May] to mark the anniversary of the University’s Royal Charter.

Charter Day marks the date, 24 May 1909, when King Edward VII granted the University its Royal Charter enabling it to confer degrees and formally establishing the University of Bristol.

Great George is the country’s sixth largest bell. It’s being rung by a team of bell ringers who swing the bell using its rope and mounted wheel to produce a louder and richer sound than when the clock hammer usually chimes.

Such ringing is saved for special occasions such as the Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Royal Wedding in 2011.

Great George will be rung by the University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers, led by Matthew Tosh, one of the Society’s alumni members.

You can read more about the history of the University here, or see our interactive timeline.

Further information

Although Charter Day is 24 May, commemorative events are held on the nearest Wednesday.

Great George

Great George was cast in 1924 and is reputed to be the finest E-flat bell in Europe and one of the deepest-toned bells in the world. It is the sixth-largest bell in England and is believed to be the third-largest that can be rung by hand. It is 6ft 9” high and 8ft 4” in diameter and can be heard 12 miles away. It is named after George V, George Oatley and George Wills. You can follow Great George on Twitter @GreatGeorgeWMB

The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers (UBSCR)

The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers was founded in 1943. The 300 plus membership is made up of current and past students and staff of the University of Bristol. Members of UBSCR can be found all over the world.

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