Friday, 15 January 2016

Memories of Bells & Beaky


Here, Magdalen Walks member, Mike Beardwood, shares his childhood memories about Canon Gilbert Thurlow and St Clement's and St George's Churches along Colegate - part of our patch. 


"My memories of St. Clements starts as a typical Beardwood tale! I went to the Cathedral to try and get a place in their choir. I was rejected but Rev. Gilbert Thurlow* - known as 'Beaky' for obvious reasons i.e. his nose - asked me to join his choir at St. Clements. It was a pleasant little church but very much dominated by St. Georges, Colegate, both of which had 'Beaky' as vicar. Most of my memories are of St. Georges where Gilbert decided to re-install the bells, which had been taken and melted down for the war effort. He was very much an expert in bells - somewhere I have his book on bells and bell ringing -  and arranged for a new set of bells to  be cast at Bow. I went there to see the (6) bells being cast. We had a service at which the bells were stood in the chancel and we, the choristers, struck the bells with rubber mallets in time with the organ playing. The bells were hung in tower and I became a (incompetent) bell ringer - if you ever want to hear the presence of the devil in church, go into the bell chamber when someone has missed a call from the bell master and just listen to his  words! 


'Beaky' lived in a flat, just across the road from St. Clements, where we often met to practice hand bell ringing. Not as exciting as real bells, but less stressful."


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