Foundry visit planned

Docklands Ringers are planning a visit to Loughborough to Taylor’s – for a tour of the foundry and museum, and an opportunity to ring on the foundry’s bells. We hope to be able to fit in another ring too during the day.

The visit will be on Wednesday 25th October (i.e. during half-term) and we will probably travel by train. The foundry tour will cost £10 (children 6-16 £5) – on top of this you will need to allow for your train ticket and a pub lunch.
This is a long time away, but the foundry tours are very popular and are booked well in advance, so please let Morag ( know as soon as possible if you would like to take part in this day out. We’ll then be able to confirm the booking with Taylor’s.

Luigi scores quarter on treble to reach level 3

By scoring a quarter of Doubles on the Treble for the evening service on 5th March at Christchurch, Isle of Dogs, Luigi Vicenti has completed Level 3 of ART’s ‘Learning the Ropes’ training scheme.

Level 3 takes ringers from call changes, building on kaleidoscope exercises through to ringing the treble and covering to methods. The level is passed when the ringer can do this sufficiently well to score two quarter peals at least one of which must be the treble to Doubles (or on higher numbers). The second can be ringing the tenor behind. Other activities include raising and lowering in peal.

Lugi and Guseppina started learning to ring in early 2013, as a result of the ‘Ring for Fitness’ publicity campaign initiated by the Churches Conservation Trust, in conjunction with the Ringing Foundation and Association of Ringing Teachers (ART). Their closest tower is St Mary Magdalene Woolwich, although the nearest with regular ringing is St Alfege, Greenwich. They have been regular visitors to the Tuesday practices at St James Bermondsey over the past four years.

We look forward to helping them complete the remaining two levels of Learning the Ropes, by which time they will be ringing Plain Bob and Grandsire inside to quarter peal standard. We also look forward to helping our other learners and visitors to achieve more passes over the coming months.

Virtual reality can help improve your ringing

The video images are very realistic

There have been significant advances in simulator technology in recent years, and we are welcoming anyone who would like to try out the new technology to come to our early practice at St James’ Bermondsey from 6.30pm on Tuesdays.

Previously simulators relied on listening alone, but the latest technology makes use of videos of real people to create a virtual reality effect. You can practice improving your ropesight, and ‘flashes’ can come up on the screen to help you see which bell you should be following.

There are also new features to record your ringing and play it back, with excellent graphics to show you how well you struck your bell in each row. With these graphics you can diagnose common striking problems such as consistently ringing quicker on one stroke and slower on another, and difficulties getting your open handstroke leads in the right place.

Thanks to grants from the Surrey Association and the Docklands Ringing Centre, a £400 award from the Association of Ringing Teachers, and technical input from the Whiting Society, we now have three ‘workstations’ set up in the ringing room at St James’, each with its own set of headphones. This means that up to three people can practice at a time, without disturbing one another, and they can all be practicing different things, from rounds to complex methods!

We are using our early practice on Tuesdays to teach several new ringers and help them progress into method ringing, and the simulator facility is proving quite popular. However, as we have three workstations we can always accommodate a few more people. As always, you will also be very welcome to stay on to our regular practice from 7.30pm (or a little later if the simulator workstations are in heavy use), and to the Gregorian pub afterwards, on your way back to the Tube!

Practicing on a workstation with headphones


Freda Cannon 1928 – 2017

Freda (bottom right) at the Bermondsey band Christmas party, probably in 1993 – didn’t everyone look young!

A series of eleven quarter peals have been rung to mark the passing of Freda Cannon, former Tower Captain at Greenwich, who was very helpful in establishing the band at Bermondsey in the early years of the Docklands Ringing Centre. Freda was also very active within the Ladies Guild and was National President 1983-1985.

Freda learnt to ring in September 1954 at Greenwich when the church and its peal of ten bells had been restored after damage during World War 2, and a new local band was formed. Freda rang many quarter peals over the years, the last one being of 1,260 Grandsire Triples at Lewisham on 6th June 2004.

In February 1991, when the new ring of six bells at Bermondsey were installed to replace the previously derelict ring of ten, there were close links with the neighbouring bands at Greenwich, Camberwell and Poplar, and Freda was one of a group of experienced ringers that came along every week, twice a week in the initial stages, to teach people to ring. She rang in the first quarter on the new bells at St James after they were augmented from six to eight in November 1991 (1,288 Grandsire Triples) and thanks to her and the others support many of the new local band were soon ringing methods competently and their first quarters within around a year of learning to ring.

Freda continued to come to ring at Bermondsey on Tuesdays until ill health prevented her coming about ten years ago. Her funeral was at St Alfege Greenwich on Tuesday 14th February 2017.

May she rest in peace.

Fred Sanwell RIP

Fred covering on the tenor (right) with then tower captain Martin Crick (now of Richmond) on the 7th.

Fred Sanwell RIP

Fred was a valued member of the band of local people that rang the bells at St Mary’s Rotherhithe, after they were restored in 1996-9.

The old heavy ring of eight at Saint Mary’s went in and out of being ringable several times, with tower sway causing structural problems. During the 1970s a band of ringers affectionately known as the ‘flying circus’ included St Mary’s in their Sunday morning rota, which stretched from Kensington in the West to Deptford in the East. After the 1987 hurricane which left the Isle of Dogs bells unringable, ringing resumed at St Mary’s, although Fred did not ring with us at that time. St Mary’s bells became unringable again, just before the old bells at St James’s Bermondsey were replaced in 1990.

Fred’s profession was a lift engineer, and he had recently retired when St Mary’s were reduced in weight and lowered in the tower to reduce the sway, in 1996-9. Fred was one of a group of local people who came forward at that time to ring and there is a plaque recording his name and the other local ringers who rang for the millennium. Fred himself must have learnt to ring in the 1960’s, although we know very little about the local band then, but as he had rung before he could ring more or less straight away.

Fred was an active member of the church, reinforcing the link with the local community, and was always there for Thursday practices and Sunday morning ringing. Unfortunately, Fred suffered a stroke about 15 years ago, so his second ringing career was cut short, and this was a significant loss for the local band.

His funeral was on 30 January 2017 and a  half muffled quarter peal was rung prior to the service, at his request.