Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I saw this bell many years ago in an antique shop in Romsey, Hampshire, oddly enough named 'Bell Antiques' It sells a wide variety of antiques. It is where I bought a very old handbell engraved 'Cornelius Cole' featured in my bell collection blog. This bell was on display in the shop but not for sale. The owner had bought it from someone who told him it came from a submarine although he did not know its name. The owner told me he rang the bell to celebrate major sales. I coveted the bell and often tried to buy it without success. I was promised first refusal when the owner retired. To my surprise and delight when I visited the shop today I was offered the bell - not because of retirement, but as a reward for my persistence. So the moral of the tale? If at first you don't succeed, try try and try again!

Removing the bell

It's time to go. After sitting in the shop for many years the bell is reluctant to leave but in just a few minutes it is off the wall and on the way to a new home.

Bell Photos

Now installed in my study, the bell weighs in at 20 lbs. It has a diameter of 25 cm. The clapper has been removed. Will be discussing that with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

The photo below the bell is of Bobby Moore, captain of the 1966 Football World Champions - England. I was at Wembley that day and never miss an opportunity to mention it!
Was it a submarine bell?
I contacted the Royal Navy Submarine Museum Curator and sent him photos of the bell and asked his opinion about the possibility of the bell being from a submarine. I received the following reply:

Hi Peter

All the bells in our collection are from commissioned British submarines and thus the bell always bears the name or number of the boat. The lack of this on your bell doesn't make sense if its got anything to do with the Royal Navy and submarines. Its also quite big and the shape is not like any of our bells. So if I had to put money on it I'd say no, not a submarine bell.


Bob Mealings

So there you have it! Always check provenance! I am still delighted with my bell. It is a fine bronze bell obviously used in an important building for some kind of warning. I shall probably never know. Unless............. someone, somewhere, reads my blog and enlightens me!?

Monday, August 07, 2006


I got a quote for fitting a new clapper to the bell. I decided that the cost could not be justified. I will keep the bell just as I found it and give it a tap with a wooden mallet when I wish to celebrate anything!

Then a rethink!

I managed to obtain a new ship's bell clapper and was able to fix it myself. the photo shows the bell complete with new clapper. Within a few months the colour will blend in.