Liverpool Cathedral February 2008           More Photos

St.Bartholomews Band, Holmer, Hereford - A Day Out in Liverpool

It all started late last year when Dave Powell asked us, “how did we fancy ringing at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.”  Wow, and so plans were made and travel costs were discussed. The train fare started at £44 return, but Dave eventually got this down to well under half of that by some ingenious mixing and matching.

Our party of 19 ringers and friends met at Hereford railway station at 7.15am, a bit early for a retired lad like me, but the weather was fine for us and would remain so throughout the day. We had managed to clash with a train special group, who were off to Carlisle in restored period carriages for a steaming day, but were being pulled by an old diesel unit.

Having seen them leave our platform late we thought that we would be struggling to make our connection at Birmingham, and sure enough we missed our connection by a few minutes, but our group was in good spirits and retired to the station buffet for a late breakfast. Meanwhile Karen had been rearranging lunch at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms and booking our orders.

We were not able to travel on Virgin trains with our tickets, but hey, we made it to Lime Street later than planned, found the bus station at the second attempt and with the help of an enthusiastic No 86 bus driver were in the Philharmonic in no time, ordering some real ale, which included Cains, a local brew. This Cains brewery was responsible for building the Phil back in 1898. The beers tasted great as did our meals. We met with some of the home band here. Perhaps you might like to know that  there are some famous gents loos here.

Following our delayed lunch, we made our way to the Cathedral as we had arranged to be at the lift at 1.30pm. Our party was ferried up to the ringing chamber in three’s in two consecutive lifts, as the lifts were quite cosy. The second lift disgorged us onto the 8th floor and the large ringing chamber, which appeared austere with black steelwork and poured concrete floors and ceilings, whereas the band members whom we met were the exact opposite, warm and welcoming and so we were called to ring once the bells had been rung to stand at hand stroke. The bells are only lowered a few times a year for maintenance and are normally left resting at back stroke.

It was a completely different experience for most of us. A heavy ring of 12 with a magnificent 82cwt tenor and an unconventional raised circular ringing platform. The treble was nearly as heavy as our tenor at Holmer. We all settled to ring and with encouragement enjoyed our ringing. It was awesome ringing on the worlds heaviest ring and the first time here for most of us. Well done to Dave for ringing the tenor, and Wendy and Barbara for assisting on the tenor.

We were able to view the bells from above by ascending a narrow concrete stairway of 108 steps. It was a bit loud, and not for the faint hearted, but it was well worth the climb. It was interesting to learn that the bells are traditionally rung half-muffled throughout Lent. There were magnificent views of Liverpool from the roof. The Liver building and the more recent radio tower were two of several buildings that stood out from the cityscape. We returned to the Cathedral floor having enjoyed our ringing and after thanking our hosts for their warm welcome.

It was time for a group photo and then free time for our party to explore a little of Liverpool and meet back at the station, where we discovered that the expected 5.15pm departure was a Virgin train. This meant a delayed start for Birmingham and missing our Hereford connection, so we had a comfort break in Brum and caught a later train. We arrived back in Hereford around 10.30pm after a long, but very enjoyable day.

Thank you Karen and Dave for arranging a great days ringing. Where to next?


Mike Jefferis

Group photo on Liverpool Cathedral steps

Left to Right: Margaret, Des, Rod, Jean, Bronwen, Ruth, Martin, Colin, Pam, David, Wendy, Barbara, Sally, Mike, Carrie, Paul, Keith, Karen, Mary, Celia, Dave, Robert, Ken, Duncan.