2018 London Twelve Bell Competition

Cumberlands win the Whitechapel Trophy

 St Michael's, Cornhill,
St Michael's, Cornhill

Saturday 27 October saw the 10th year of the London 12 bell striking competition at St Michael’s Cornhill. The emphasis of this competition is a change from the more formal arrangements for the National 12 bell contest, with no dreaded strikeometre and no scheduled practice sessions in faraway places. However, like the National 12 bell, this year’s test piece was again a half course of Cambridge (okay, there was a slight variation this year in the National 12 bell with a lead of Primrose at the beginning but does that really count as a difference??).

After a warm welcome to Cornhill by the new priest in charge, Rev’d Charlie Skrine encouraging us all to ring our best (but especially his local band!), the final band lists submitted (St Paul’s seemed to want to keep their band secret to the very last minute) and we were read the basic rules of the competition. No practice piece (resulting in only the last 4 leads being judged) but 2 minutes to test rope length, and if you go into changes you will be deemed to have started the touch.

Following the draw (with us being drawn to ring 2nd) and the obligatory band photos, it was time to get down to the main focus of the day – ringing (or how long do I have to wait before I can head to the day’s designated venue, the Jamaica Inn). At this point, you’ve given yourself all the counselling you need, no need to get nervous, no need for the throat to go dry, the arms to lock, the task ahead seemingly dauntingly difficult. You are amongst friends so why worry?! However, to push those thoughts from the mind is just something necessary to be done if possible. Before you know it the ringing is over and relief pours over you. Then it’s hard to remember how/good/bad/indifferent/it’s got to be that bell it actually was. The only solution was to go to the Jamaica Inn which had opened especially for the ringers that day (here at least we’re back on a good par with the National 12 bell).

With the ringing over, it was time for the judges, David Brown and Cathy Huges-D’Aeth, to give their verdict on the proceedings. David gave some opening remarks - turns out that he was most concerned about being a sober judge in a church full of inebriated bellringers (would inebriated bellringers want an unsober judge?). It was then left to Cathy to give the comments regarding each band’s ringing.

With the details out of the way, it was time for the most anticipated (or dreaded) section – the results in reverse order. Good. Not too sure we can handle out of the ordinary! Informal day yes, but don’t push it too much!!!

As the name of each band was read out there were the usual sounds (groans, ‘oooh’ etc.), and we’re then onto third place, with still no mention of the SRCY by the judges. With the local band coming third (not sure how that went down with the new incumbent) it was between the SRCY and one of the College Youth teams. After a pause for effect, the College Youths were the next team read out, and we could scarcely believe we had defended the title won on home ground last year!!!!!

A great result for the Society - a really good start for Ben’s first year as Master and great round off for Tom’s three years of hard work as outgoing Master.

Jo Dorling

Thomas Mack
Tom Mack with the Whitechapel Trophy

The full results of the contest are as follows:


Result details

Position Team Mark
1 Society of Royal Cumberland Youths 82%
2 Ancient Society of College Youths (n) 79%
3 St Michael's, Cornhill 77%
4 St Paul's Cathedral 75%
5 Southwark Cathedral 69%
6 University of London Society of Change Ringers 63%
7 Middlesex County Association and London Diocesan Guild 62%
8 Croydon (Surrey) 58%
9 Ancient Society of College Youths (e) 48%

Ancient Society of College Youths (e) did not complete the test piece.


Front row, right to left 1-6, back row, left to right 7-12
  1. Joanna K Dorling
  2. Shirley E McGill
  3. Geraldine R Forster
  4. Paul A Cammiade
  5. David C Bath
  6. Adam S Greenley
  7. Mary E Holden
  8. Douglas J Beaumont
  9. Stephen J Bailey
  10. Benjamin D Constant
  11. Alan Regin
  12. Thomas B Mack (C)


The band representing the Society, ringing Cambridge Surprise Maximus

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