Artist Martin Creed’s Work No. 1197: All the Bells… is asking people around the country to ring in a welcome for the Olympic Games. Here’s where to chime in in London.
Commissioned by the London 2012 Festival, Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed has developed a collaborative artwork that will enable people throughout Britain to welcome the Olympic Games and those participating in it to the country. At 8.12am on July 27, members of the public are invited to ring any type of bell available to join a chorus of thousands of others in expressing their enthusiasm for the Games.
In practice organisers expect this will mean families buzzing their doorbells, playing specially downloaded bell and chirping noises or perhaps leaving their morning alarm to blast for a few minutes longer. The All the Bells website hints at the possibility of neighbourly irritation that may be caused as a result of participation: “Pease let [your neighbours] know in advance that you will be ringing; they might even want to join in. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds can damage hearing; please ensure sensible precautions are in place to protect any sensitive ears which might be in close proximity to loud bell ringing.”
Undeterred, numerous locations in central London will be participating in their own way. A list of the most significant bell-ringing events are listed below, and many will last for three minutes, so be on alert from 8.12am and prepare to join in.
HMS Belfast, will fire its canons in a countdown to 8.12am and will have three hundred children, sea cadets, brownies and Town Criers on board ringing an assortment of bells.
Big Ben, the hour bell of the Palace of Westminster, will chime more than 40 times from 8.12am – 8.15am to ring in the Olympic Games. This is a historic occasion for one of the world’s most famous bells, as it is the first time that the strike of Big Ben has been rung outside its regular schedule since 15 February 1952, when it tolled every minute for 56 strokes from 9:30AM for the funeral of King George VI.
Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the most famous bell foundry in the world, (makers of Big Ben & the bell for the Olympic Opening Ceremony) will be ringing a variety of bells in their courtyard and on the pavement outside.
Borough Market traders and the Market Choir will ring bells to mark the start of trading and the Market’s official opening for the Games.
At sketch restaurant just off Regent Street, the Gallery dining space will form a Mayfair focal point for All the Bells. The Gallery has a strong association with the performance as Martin Creed has transformed the space with the installation of Work No. 1347 within its interior. The artwork consists of 96 different types of marble in a formation of zigzagging lines that spread across the floor and that are accompanied by immense paintings throughout the venue. The entire restaurant staff will ring bells in sketch’s Parlour space in the morning; members of the public who attend will be provided with bells and complimentary patisserie.
The National Theatre will be hosting a Big Bell Breakfast with the huge Frankenstein Bell used in Danny Boyle’s recent production on the Bayliss Terrace overlooking the Thames. Everyone who turns up will have the opportunity to ring the bell and have breakfast.
Millenium Bridge: members of the London Boroughs Faith Network will be ringing a blast of bells on the Millennium Bridge to support the Millennium Development Goals as part of the Olympic Truce.
St Bride’s Fleet Street will be participating in All the Bells, followed by a marathon reading of the Psalms of David.
St Barnabas Church, Ealing new 70kg bell, made by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, will join in with All The Bells and members of the community are going to join the celebration with their own bells.
Christ Church Spitalfields will be ringing as loudly and as quickly as possible. Steeple Keeper Alan Regin is an enthusiastic supporter of All The Bells.
HMS Ocean in Greenwich, will be ringing its bells as will the entire fleet of the Royal Navy and Royal Auxiiliary in the UK and overseas. There is a navy tradition of ringing eight bells at 8am to mark the change of watch; on July 27 bells across the fleet will ring at 8:12am.
Starkmann: Staff and friends at publishers Starkmann will be ringing the world’s largest aluminiuim bell (750Kg), which hangs in their offices and is made from the fuselage of a decommissioned Tornado fighter jet by artist Fiona Banner, with the help of Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough.