Walworth, St Peter
Practice Night: None
Ringing Times: Practice: 1st, 2nd and 5th Sundays – Midday to 1:30pm.
Entry: Go through the west door into the nave. Turn right and right again and up the staircase to the ringing chamber.
Contact: Tower Secretary: Kevin Mitchell: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone number 07968 364141.
St Peter’s was built in 1825 to the designs of John Soane, as one of a series of “Waterloo” churches to serve the expanding population of London. A ring of eight bells was also cast by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel in 1825, the heaviest of these weighing 15cwt. The total weight of these bells was over 3 tons. Although they were rung regularly up till about 1914, they fell into disuse and became unsafe by the middle of the last century. Several attempts were made to restore them, but St Peter’s tower is quite small and the bells had to be hung on two levels, to fit the available space. The solution was to provide a smaller ring of bells.
In 1996 the parish was approached by St Anne’s Limehouse who were interested in installing a large ring of bells in their massive tower, and who had acquired a lighter ring of six bells from the redundant church of St Paul Homerton, the “Grocers Bells”. It was agreed to exchange St Peter’s heavier eight bells for the lighter six, in return for a contribution from St Anne’s towards the cost of installing them in St Peter’s.
Fund-raising began, but unfortunately the parish was unsuccessful in securing a 50% grant from the £3 million “Ringing in the Millennium” scheme. Never the less the parish continued fund-raising, and although the original target was not reached, sufficient was raised to purchase a light ring of eight bells from the redundant church of St Andrew, Short Street SE1 and to hang these instead, in February 2001.