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BIRMINGHAM* Cathedral Church of St Philip 12, 31-0-21 in D

Grid Reference 139/070870 birmingham_cath - Source Mike Chester
Postcode B3 2QB
Affiliation St Martin's Guild
Peals Felstead Database
Sunday 0830-0900 (all)  1015-1045 (2 & 4)
Practice None


In the early 18th century the population around St Martin's church grew to the point where it was felt that there was a need for another church in the central area of Birmingham. St Philip's was initially built between 1711 and 1715, being finished later in 1725 when the tower was completed. It is a fine example of church building in that period. With the increase in population in Victorian times it was decided that there was a need for a new diocese in the area and this church was made the Cathedral Church of the new Diocese of Birmingham in 1905, it being formed out of the Diocese of Worcester.

The early history of the bells here is unsure, but it seems likely that there was a ring of 10 here by 1750/1 with a tenor of around 26cwt. At this point Thomas Lester cast a new ring for St Philip's with a tenor of 29-0-18 in Db. It is likely that a ring of 8 was installed in the frame, which was then adapted to take 10. Subsequently the 5th and tenor were recast by Pack and Chapman in 1772; possibly the 6th in the third quarter of the century; Thomas Mears I certainly recast the 6th in 1796 and Thomas Mears II the 8th in 1823.

Barwells rehung the bells in 1893 after they had been in poor condition for some time. However, the tower was declared unsafe in 1906. With the exception of only a couple of rings in 1914, the bells were next rung in 1921, though they were thought to be an inferior ring. These bells were completely replaced in 1937 and then augmented in 1949. Bells 7, 8 & 9 hang in an upper frame, curiously leaving an empty pit in the main frame; though meaning there is a better rope circle. The front four bells have button tops and the rest were cast with flat tops.

They are a fine ring and are the most often pealed bells in a church, after Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. The city centre ringers are rightly proud of their tradition of excellent ringing in recent decades. There is no actual official practice night. However, there is one most weeks, it being often at bit over three hours long and usually on a Monday!

(Most of the above information is quoted directly (with permission) from the research notes of Chris Pickford)

Details of the Bells

 1 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1949   5-3-20    26.75"  1740.0Hz (A-20c)
 2 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1949   5-3-16    27.50"  1546.0Hz (G-24c)
 3 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937   5-3-01.5  28.25"  1450.0Hz (F#-35c)
 4 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937   6-0-25    29.50"  1304.0Hz (E-19c)
 5 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937   6-2-09    31.00"  1160.0Hz (D-22c)
 6 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937   6-3-18.5  32.00"  1088.0Hz (C#-33c)
 7 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937   8-0-20    34.50"   967.0Hz (B-37c)
 8 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937  10-1-10    37.625"  870.0Hz (A-20c)
 9 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937  13-2-26    41.50"   773.0Hz (G-24c)
10 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937  15-3-24    43.50"   725.0Hz (F#-35c)
11 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937  21-3-20    48.50"   652.0Hz (E-19c)
12 Gillett & Johnston, Croydon  1937  31-0-21    54.625"  580.0Hz (D-22c)

Details of the Ring in 1937

 1 Thomas Lester, London        1750   5-3-22    29.00"
 2 Thomas Lester, London        1751   6-1-14    30.00"
 3 Thomas Lester, London        1750   7-0-10    31.75"
 4 Thomas Lester, London        1751   7-2-13    32.752
 5 Pack and Chapman, London     1772   9-0-13    35.50"
 6 Thomas Mears, London         1796  11-0-11    38.25"
 7 Thomas Lester, London        1750  13-2-18    41.25"
 8 Thomas Mears, London         1823  16-2-09    44.25"
 9 Thomas Lester, London        1750  21-0-13    48.75"
10 Pack and Chapman, London     1772  29-0-18    54.75"

Photo Gallery

The Cathedral Looking East



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