The aptly-named Chord bell, weighing in at 12cwt and 3ft 5inches in diameter, will be the first to be cast by Loughborough-based John Taylor Bellfounders, which has been making bells since the 14th century and is now the largest bell foundry in the world. The bell will be made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin.
Reverend Pyke said: “The generosity of Chord and The Royal Bank of Scotland gave us the kick-start we needed. Their backing for the project helped persuade other sponsors to come on board and make this project a reality.”
Geoff Shuttleworth, a director at Chord, said: “As a Jewellery Quarter-based property company, with a number of developments in the area, we were very keen to contribute to this campaign. St Paul’s was built and supported by great Birmingham industrialists, including Matthew Boulton and James Watt, and it is fitting that those of us who make a living in the area continue to put something back into the local community.”
Reverend Pyke has worked with the St Martin’s Guild of Bell Ringers to bring the project to fruition. The Guild, which is responsible for bell ringing across the Birmingham diocese, celebrates its 250th anniversary this year. It has a national reputation for its bell ringing and will use the St Paul’s bells to train newcomers to the art.
“This is a fantastic way for the Guild to celebrate a landmark anniversary,” said Reverend Pyke.
St Paul’s Church is seeking a further £15,000 in sponsorship to set up an Academy to train newcomers, particularly young people, in this ancient art. The Academy will be the first of its kind in the region.