On Friday 28 July, to mark the 40th anniversary of Derby being granted city status, the bells of Derby Cathedral – the oldest ring of ten bells in the world – will ring a peal in celebration.

The peal will begin at 6.00pm and end at 9.30pm, and involves ten bellringers – without a break – ringing constantly for the duration. Peals of this duration are reserved for special occasions only; this will be the third peal of the year.

The peal commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s visit to Derby to deliver the Letters Patent to Derby City Council – the moment at which Derby became a city.

“Three of our current bellringers were present on that civic occasion 40 years ago, and when the announcement was made the Provost of the Cathedral immediately suggested that the bells should be rung,”

said Martin Whiteley, Derby Cathedral’s Ringing Master.

“This involved ringing the bells at midnight, which is far from a regular occurrence! The same three bellringers have helped to keep the Cathedral bells ringing regularly on Sundays ever since.”

Mayor of the City of Derby, Councillor John Whitby said:

“I’m delighted that the bells of Derby Cathedral will ring out to mark the 40th anniversary of Derby’s city status on Friday. Prior to 1977 Derby had been one of the few towns in England with a cathedral but not city status and so a joyous peal of bells feels a very fitting way to celebrate this civic milestone.”

Derby Cathedral’s ringers are always interested in encouraging new people to take up this fascinating hobby, so if you’re interested come along to our Open Day on Saturday 26th August (anytime between 10.00am and 4.00pm) or contact Martin Whiteley by email for an introduction to the Cathedral’s historic bells.

Images: Above; a drone image of the Cathedral tower taken by Dominic Platts. Below; assorted images of the bells, including the tenor bell – which dates from 1510!