Tag Archives: Bermondsey

Bermondsey Community Fun Day – highly successful

Rear (L to R): Roger Booth, Paul Harding, Edward Gormley, Matt Amos, Trisha Shannon.
Front: Naoko Nakatani, David Connearn, Lily Tang.
Photo: Gillian Harris.

On Saturday 22 July, the Parish of Bermondsey held a Community Fun Day in aid of restoring the ‘Joy Slide’ which once sat in the Churchyard. The old wooden slide, which was built in 1921 and brought delight to generations of Bermondsey children, was donated by Arthur Carr, Chairman of Peak Freans, whose biscuit factory stood close by. The old slide was damaged by fire and removed shortly after we installed the new bells, 25 years ago.

There were various attractions in the churchyard including a bouncy castle, helter skelter and a barbecue. As one of the attractions, during the afternoon we invited local people to come up the tower and meet the ringers, watch the bells being rung and climb the new ladder to the viewing platform above the bells.

Our aim was to raise awareness of the bells and the ringers within the local community and the church family, and to recruit some new people into the local band. With help from our friends from Greenwich, Lewisham and Waterloo, and with all the ringers wearing their smart Docklands Ringers polo shirts, and giving everyone a warm welcome, we certainly helped give the right impression.

We must have showed at least 60 people up the tower and given most of them a go at ringing a few backstrokes, even a large group of schoolchildren. We also have three people who have left their contact details, and there may be a couple more who have also promised to come along early next Tuesday evening for a lesson. We were also able to publicise the event in local social media, and have attracted a significant number of ‘likes’.

The Vicar and Churchwardens were very pleased and it was very good PR for the ringers. All in all a very worthwhile exercise.



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


25 Years ago


Twenty five years ago the tower of St James’ Bermondsey was in scaffolding. The heavy old ring of 10 bells dating from 1823 had been removed, as they had become derelict and a new ring of 6 bells had just been cast in the Whitechapel Bellfoundry. They were rung for the first time in February 1991. Two more were added to complete the current ring of 8 bells in November 1991.

Over the years we have taught many people to ring on these bells and we plan to hold a reunion of the ringers in November 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary. Over 40 people attended the 20th anniversary reunion 5 years ago.

The old ring of 10 bells were restored and two more were added to make a ring of 12 bells, which were installed in St James’s Cathedral, Toronto, Canada. Three of our ringers travelled to Canada to attend the dedication weekend, including ringing for a special service attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on 27th June 1997.

The new bells
The old bells leave
The 20th Anniversary

Andrew reaches Level 5

By ringing inside to a quarter of Grandsire Doubles at Isle of Dogs, Andrew Booth has become the 28th person to achieve Level 5 of Learning the Ropes and qualifies for a prize under the ART Awards scheme.

The Association of Ringing Teachers is now moving out of its set up phase. Going forward the focus will be less on delivering ITTS courses and is shifting to supporting the 250+ and growing number of members who have gained Accreditation. Thanks to the generosity of various parties, the inaugural ART Awards will be presented at the Annual Conference at Loughborough Bell-foundry on Saturday 12th March 2016.

One of the Awards is for all those who have achieved Learning the Ropes Level 5, who will be invited to a centrally-organised weekend event: The Learning the Ropes Masterclass. This will be run in the second half of 2016 by a team of hand-picked, top flight ringers and will be designed to provide opportunities that are not normally available locally. Travel and accommodation will be arranged/paid for participants based in the mainland UK.

Andrew thanks all those who have helped him reach this milestone over the last couple of years and with twelve of our other ringers at various stages on the pathway, we hope that they too will qualify for similar awards over the next year or two. We look forward to celebrating their success.


The band after the quarter, Andy, Mike, Morag, Drew, Bridget, Roger.