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

22 May 2019

Bristol’s largest bell will ring out across the city today [22 May] as the University of Bristol celebrates the anniversary of its charter being granted.

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

To mark the occasion, Great George – housed in the tower of the University of Bristol’s Wills Memorial Building - will ring for ten minutes at 1.45pm today.

Weighing in at 9.5 tonnes, Great George is the country’s seventh largest bell. It will be 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 London 2012 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.

Read more about the History of the University. Tours of the Wills Memorial Building are available to book.

Further information

The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers (UBSCR)

UBSCR was founded in 1943 and is one of the University's oldest societies. 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.

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 seventh-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.

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