The Change Ringing Bells at Perkins

The Wheelwright Bells

Two angled images a tall tower

Two views of the Howe Building tower on the Perkins School for the Blind campus in Watertown, MA. Photographs courtesy of Larry Melander.

September 9, 2013

Perkins Annual Report, 1912:

A magnificent peal of English bells has been presented to the institution for its commanding tower. They are given in memory of her husband by Mrs. Andrew C. Wheelwright of Boston, who is a grandniece of Thomas Handasyd Perkins, after whom the institution was named. The bells are being cast in London and are expected to arrive this coming winter.

Perkins Annual Report, 1913:

Doubtless the most interesting event of the fall term was the arrival from England of the great peal of eight fine toned bells for the tower... Brought into the museum on December 11, they rested there several days before being hoisted into the belfry. The rare opportunity of examination was seized by every one; even the children of the kindergarten came from Jamaica Plain to see them. The tenor bell weighs 2,200 pounds, the treble 700. Each bears a name and an inscription selected by Mrs. Wheelwright and Mr. Sturgis. Being embossed in Roman letters the pupils could read them for themselves and had much satisfaction in doing so. 

A newspaper clipping

Bells of Watertown Pealed. Seven English Ringers Entertain Inmates at Perkins Home For the Blind.

English Bell Ringers.
Back Row-- S. J. Perkins, R. Newton, G. Mackman.
Sitting-- P. J. Allfrey, G. Moore, E. Randall, W. Bashford.

Watertown, Dec. 25-- An English custom of pealing the bells on Christmas Day was followed today at the Perkins Home for the Blind. Dr. Arthur H. Nichols of Boston with seven experienced English bell ringers came here today and gave the demonstration.

Pealing is far different from chiming. In the former the bells are turned completely over and done in such a manner as to make harmony, although no tune is attempted.

Visit the North American Guild of Change Ringers website for more information

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