Eight bells were hung in the tower in 1773 and a further two added about 100 years later. Only one survived the Blitz: it can still be seen housed in a post-war tower at the side of the community centre. It was cast at the world famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1773. The foundry was also responsible for making the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and London’s Big Ben.
It was rung electronically for a while after WWII, until neighbours complained about the noise. The rusted mechanism was cleaned and the bell was rung again for the first time in decades in November 2016.
The whereabouts of the other nine bells remain a mystery. It is thought one was stolen after the war and eight were sold.
The inscription on the one remaining St Sidwell’s bell reads:
“All ye who join in wedlock’s bands
Your hands and hearts unite
So shall our tuneful tongues unite
To laud the nuptial rite.”