In 1950 Holy Trinity welcomed 5 new bells, cast by Mears & Stainbank. (1). Funding for the new bells was made possible by an appeal set up in 1946 by Ethel, Lady Thomson, churchwarden of Blythburgh who lived at The Green near the church, and M. Janet Becker daughter of artist Harry Becker (1865 – 1928).
The appeal took the form of an exhibition in aid of the ‘Bells for Blythburgh Fund’, entitled ‘Bygone Blythburgh’ and held at Ipswich Art Gallery from the 28 Oct – 3 Nov 1946. Janet Becker was Honorary Exhibition Secretary, and in the exhibition catalogue, urged “We do not beg from you. We invite you to be numbered among the benefactors of Blythburgh church, whose care created the building it is now our pleasure to cherish”.(2)
She went on to state “for there is nothing shop-made about a bell, each one, from birth to belfry, being the charge of a dozen hands skilled in this centuries-old, unchanging craft”.
Postcards of Blythburgh Church were sold in aid of the bells both at the Exhibition and from Lady Thomson at The Green. On the reverse of the postcard was printed the following poem:
Wenhaston, Southwold and Halesworth bells
At all high festivals
Shake down their music like a tree in flower
Scatters her blossoms wide:
But dear gaunt Blythburgh Tower
Has stood two centuries tongue-tied.
M. Janet Becker (1904 – 53)
The appeal was successful, the five new bells were hung, and all bells were dedicated in a special service on Sunday 17 September 1950 to celebrate thanksgiving for victory in the 1939 – 45 war.
(1) Mears & Stainbank. For history of Whitechapel bell Foundry see surveyoflondon.org
(2) Catalogue for Exhibition in Aid of Bells for Blythburgh Fund.
To read the full paper click here: Blythburgh history of the bells 2