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How the Swan Bells work

Inside the bell chamber, sound levels reach as high as 190dB. Such is the intensity of the sound that anyone unfortunate enough to be in there when the bells ring, would suffer bleeding from their ears and significant hearing loss.

Yet, immediately outside the bell chamber, the sound is ‘sweet' due to significant sound attenuating and enhancing measures having been adopted. These range from extensive use of dense fibre insulation to a double glazed walling system that allows the public to view the bells in action.

Our local bellringers (campanologists) are also well protected. The ringing room situated two levels below the bells is acoustically isolated sufficiently to allow them to pull the ropes of these bells several times heavier than themselves with relative comfort.

During recent evening practice sessions, the sound exit chamber was ‘shut down’ so effectively, that the bells could hardly be heard from outside the tower.

However, when being rung for the public to hear, the acoustic doors will be opened so that the sound of the bells from the world’s largest musical instrument can be heard across the city.

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