University of Bristol: University rings in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations

The joyous peal of bells will be heard across the city on Friday (3 June) as Bristol’s largest bell – Great George – chimes synchronously with fellow bells across the country in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Great George, who sits in the tower of the University of Bristol’s Wills Memorial Building, will ring for 15 minutes at 11.15am. This coincides with a Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen’s reign being held at St Paul’s Cathedral.

On Friday it will be rung by the University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers, led by Matt Jerome, one of the Society’s alumni members. They swing the bell using its rope and mounted wheel to produce a louder and richer sound than when the clock hammer usually chimes.

The 9.5 tonnes bell – the seventh largest in England – is only rung for significant national and local events, both sad and joyful. More recently it’s been rung for the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the London 2012 Olympics, the Queen’s 90th birthday, the 70th anniversary of VE Day and Prince Philip’s funeral.

Her Majesty has visited the University of Bristol four times in her long reign, with the first visit coming in December 1958 to open the newly built Queen’s Building, home to the Faculty of Engineering.

Ten years later, on 26 April 1968, The Queen visited Langford House to open the new Meat Research Institute and see the work of the Bristol Veterinary School. Local newspapers reported Her Majesty’s visit to Langford overran by just over an hour because of her love of horses.

And in June 1995, The Queen officially opened an extension to the Dental Hospital, before returning once more to the University in February 2005, accompanied by Prince Philip, to officially open a new £18.5 million research facility located in the Queen’s Building called BLADE (Bristol Laboratory for Advanced Dynamics Engineering).