Bradford Cathedral’s bells are once again ringing out across the city after being rededicated by the Dean of Bradford and the Lord Mayor of Bradford.
There were strawberries and fizz at a rededication evening (on Tuesday 12 June) which included guided tours given by local schoolchildren, a special choral evensong, and a presentation on the project (pictured right, Canon Paul Maybury helps with the strawberries and cream).
Thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding of £79,100, the peal of First World War memorial bells have been repaired and restored as part of a wider heritage project which includes the exhibition, guided tours and a special booklet launched at the rededication event.
Bradford Cathedral is the oldest building in Bradford and the only medieval building in the city centre. The bell tower (which today has twelve bells) was finished in 1508 and the ten bells which have been restored were first hung in the tower in 1921 as a First World War memorial.
Each bell is inscribed with poignant messages: from families recording a young man lost in war, from Sunday School teachers in gratitude for freedom won and from the Mothers of Bradford recording their love and gratitude to the men who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Welcoming the return of the bells, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, said: “The Cathedral bells are another piece of the essential heritage jigsaw in the City and we hope that many more people will get to appreciate the sound of them and have the opportunity to visit Bradford Cathedral.”
The rededication included a presentation on the project by Cathedral Heritage Education Assistant, Diane Hadwen , who introduced the Young Community Heritage Guides – local pupils from Lepage Primary School who guided visitors around the exhibits before the Lord Mayor opened the exhibition and the Dean led a choral evensong service of rededication.
Afterwards the bells were ring out across the city while guests enjoyed refreshments in the Precinct.
The WW1 Bells exhibition will remain in the Cathedral until early September while the Bells project runs until March 2019. It will focus on story-telling and interactive experiences to interpret the heritage of the First World War memorial bells through two themes: the people of Bradford to whom the bells were dedicated and the long tradition of change ringing in the city. This will be underpinned by a varied programme of activities and there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get involved: from learning to ring the Cathedral bells, to running guided tours, to welcoming visitors.
Watch a short video of the event here: