SUFFOLK-L ArchivesArchiver > SUFFOLK > 2002-07 > 1026064925
From: "Christopher and Joy Dean" <>
Subject: Re: Bow Bells (true Cockney) off topic down south a bit!
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2002 19:02:05 +0100
From my message on the London list a while ago - as follows:-
>My father was born in Tradescant Road, South Lambeth, London. I understand
>that my grandmother could hear Bow Bells when he was born ... or so I was
The following was the best answer that I received.
Joy Dean nee Brooks (Kentish Maid)
As Ken Boyce wrote, there was a lot of discussion of this topic on
the list a few months back. As well as the URL he quoted, visit:
This has a map showing the distance at which Bow Bells could be
heard, from scientific research carried out in the early 90s. Much
further north of the Thames than south--I don't pretend to understand
why, but maybe there is a scientist on the list who can explain!
However, the whole of Lambeth was within range. I was born in a
little maternity clinic in Stoke Newington, at the furthest northern
periphery of the bells' reach (well, if they had been in existence in
1950 it would have been), so just squeak in as a Cockney (Do what,
guvnor? Knock it on the 'ead!). There was another site with detailed
commentary on the survey and the map, but I haven't been able to find
The chief imponderable is the difference background traffic noise
makes. I *suspect* this is underestimated in the study. I remarked,
during the earlier correspondence, that during my childhood in the
late 50s/early 60s the Armistice Day cannon salute could be heard as
far out as Palmers Green/Bowes Park, some 6-7 miles distant. It was
Bow Bells that legendarily called Dick Whittington back, a similar
distance. No chance now.
There was fierce competition between London parishes over whose bells
were the loudest/furthest-carrying, detailed in Peter Ackroyd's
marvellous 'London: The Biography' (What do you mean, you haven't
read it? Slappy wrists! Go to Amazon and buy it now!).
Speaking of Peter Ackroyd, he is presenting a current BBC series on
Dickens, partly based on the superb biography he wrote a few years
back. This is outstandingly good, and, if you're outside the UK, can
presumably be seen on one cable channel or another.
Same author's biography of Sir Thomas More includes a wonderful
evocation of Tudor London.
|Re: Bow Bells (true Cockney) off topic down south a bit! by "Christopher and Joy Dean" <>|