The Nottingham University Society of Change Ringers (NUSCR) is one of the oldest societies affiliated to the University of Nottingham Students' Union (where it is known as Bellringing Society), being founded in 1958.
It all began in late 1957, when a number of students came to study at the University of Nottingham who were already experienced bellringers. The inaugural meeting was held on 29 January 1958 and the Nottingham University Society of Change Ringers was formed.
During the 1970s there were a significant number of ringing students at the Trent Polytechnic (predecessor to Nottingham Trent University) and the Trent Polytechnic Society of Change Ringers (TPSCR) was formed. This gradually faded and ringers from "Trent" came within NUSCR in the 1980s.
NUSCR’s practice night was originally held at St. Peter's between 1958 and 1960. In 1960, attempts were made to make the derelict bells at All Saints' ringable. This was only partially successful and the Society's practice night moved there from 1960-62. Due to the poor state of the bells, the Society then moved to Beeston where the bells required less work to make them ringable. During this period, the Society did well. Local people (who were not students) were also taught to ring on the bells and this caused friction in the early 1970s. At an EGM on 17 March 1972 it was formally decided to leave Beeston and return to All Saints'.
Over the next two decades there was a gradual patch-up of the eight bells with the support of several ringers from the Nottingham area. However, it was clear that at some point the bells would require rehanging. In the late 1970s, a quote was obtained from John Taylor's Bellfounders in Loughborough for the work which was costed at a huge £16,000. It was felt quite out of reach of a student society and the patch up continued. The bells were slowly put onto metal headstocks and ball bearing which made them easier to ring.
In around 1995, a report gave the bells approximately 5 years before they would be unringable. Quotes were obtained to rehang the bells in a modern steel bell frame for ten bells (i.e. space for two extra treble bells). With some uncertainty the Society set out in 1996 to raise the initial quote of almost £12,000. Surprisingly, the money mounted up much more quickly than expected and discussion began to centre on whether it might also be possible to augment the bells to ten. This would require the original eight bells to be tuned (as they were cast in 1864 prior to modern bell tuning) at a further cost of £1800.
In 1999, members of the Society helped to lower the eight bells out of the tower (the heaviest being 3/4 ton or 760 kg) and removed the old oak bell frame. Holes were then cut for the new steel frame and it was hoisted and bolted together. The old eight bells were tuned and returned for Easter 1999. Fundraising continued and the two trebles of ten were cast at John Taylor's Bellfounders in 2004 and hung in September that year. Thus, the bell restoration, something which had been a major aspect of Society history, came to a successful conclusion.
All Saints’ Church Tower also houses a small service bell, weighing approximately 1 cwt, cast by John Taylor & Co. in 1866. This bell was the former All Saints’ School bell. It was saved from the scrap heap by Rev. Bernard Baines, the then Honorary President of the Society. It was hung in the tower at the same time as the rehanging of the 8 bells in 1999. Consequently, this bell is affectionately known as Bernard’s Bell.
In May 2019, NUSCR stopped ringing at All Saint's due to safety concerns regarding excessive pigeon damage. A team led by Edward A S Walker (Steeple Keeper & Project Manager) and Emily E Hall (Fundraising Secretary) were responsible for getting NUSCR back home.
With financial support from the church, and following substantial fundraising efforts, the funds were sufficient for work to start. All of the work was carried out by a team of volunteers made up of current NUSCR, NUSCR alumni and friends of the society. All the voluntry work was led by Edward A S Walker, D Paul Mason & Alex Speakman.
Work started on the 19th June 2019. The project consisted of a complete clean of the tower, removing approximately 2.2 tons of guano, nesting material and carcasses. It also saw the dismantling of the old floor, and construction of a new floor above the bells. This new floor serves as a load bearing platform in case of any future work which may be needed on the spire. It (the floor) is made up of a number of trap doors, which acts as a form of control for the bells, allowing for extra ringing. Finally, it involved a total renovation of the ringing chamber.
The tenor was tested for the first time following the work on the 23rd January 2020; and on 8th February 2020 the complete ring of 10 bells were heard again for the first time since May 2019 during a test ring, rung by the volunteers with the top 10 most hours into the project. The bells were officially handed back to the society on the 11th February 2020.
At the AGM each year, NUSCR selects it's officers. Here you can find a list of all of the known previous Ringing Masters, Secretarys and Treasurers:
|2020-21||Evie Newton||Natasha Claus||Jacob Blackwell|
|2019-20||Estella J Haynes||Rebecca L Smith||Fiona E Kemm|
|2018-19||Edward A S Walker||Chloe A Marples||Harvey O Plows|
|2017-18||Victoria L Halford||Lydia P Parkes||Adam Wilmott|
|2016-17||Emily E Hall||Craig Tyler||Emma D Cracknell|
|2015-16||Esther S Pilgrim||Christian J Brown||Thomas Beadman|
|2014-15||Christopher J Field||Hollie Davison||Esther S Pilgrim|
|2013-14||Daniel T Meyer||Ellis Whitehouse||Rebecca A Steed|
|2012-13||Simon J Telford||Catherine Grubb||Christopher J Field|
|2011-12||Alexandra J Marchbank||Hayley J Wells||Sam Bolingbroke|
|2010-11||Edward S Nicholson||Katherine R Bulleid||William J Dalleywater|
|2009-10||Rebecca Kennedy||William J Dalleywater||Edward S Nicholson|
|2008-09||Christopher J Teasdale||Elizabeth A M Wheeler||Rebecca Kennedy|
|2007-08||Teresa C Meadows||Gavin I McLeod||Christopher J Teasdale|
|2006-07||Jonathan A Ratcliffe||Sophie E Palmer||Teresa C Meadows|
|2005-06||Catherine L Boyce||Jonathan A Ratcliffe||Sarah Kendrick|
|2004-05||Stephanie L Clive||Catherine L Boyce||Emma R Chapman|
|2002-04||David M Birkby||Francis Casson||Graham R Kelly|
|2002-03||Phillip J Wilding / Christine M Horritt||Andrew R Wignell||-|
|2001-02||Timothy R Poole||Andrew J Cairns||Heidi M Mounsey|
|2000-01||Andrew R Wignell||Kathryn J Harter||Edward Dempster|
|1999-00||Andrew J Cairns||Andrew R Wignell||Christine M Horritt|
|1998-99||Colin M Lee||Hazel T Bridges||Andrew J Cairns|
|1997-98||Wayne A Ingamells||Hazel T Bridges||Angela Whitehouse|
|1996-97||Claire L Hodnett||Elizabeth A Newby||Clare Bostock-Smith|
|1995-96||Emma Ashford||Claire L Hodnett||Benjamin D Kipling|
|1994-95||Jonathan G Underwood||Bridget J Smith||Emma Ashford|
|1993-94||Michael J Semken / Rachel M Kimber||-||-|
|1992-93||Elizabeth M Green||-||-|
|1989-90||Andrew G Dicks||-||-|
|1988-89||Lynda P Lambert||-||-|
|1987-88||Michael R Chilvers||Andrea C Bennett||-|
|1986-87||Andrew M Keech||Catherine Thompson||Michael R Chilvers|
|1985-86||Stephen C Theobald||Helen L Gibbs||Martin J Elliot|
|1984-85||Roger J Lawson||-||-|
|1983-84||Jeremy R Housden||-||-|
|1982-83||Elizabeth A Clements||C Clarke||Charles R Morse|
|1981-82||Deirdre F Allen||Elizabeth A Clements||Charles R Morse|
|1980-81||Paul E Bibilo / Andrew M J Young||-||-|
|1979-80||Andrew M J Young||Sally J Skevington||Craig M Hellon|
|1978-79||Jeremy R Housden||Susan M Valentine||Susan J Preston|
|1977-78||Jeremy R Housden||Vanessa J Walters||-|
|1976-77||Anthony J Crabtree||Stephen E G Young||Kevin A Fox|
|1975-76||Alan P Walters||Stephen E G Young||John W Pollard|
|1974-75||Margaret Boam||Margaret J Baker||J Howard Percy|
|1973-74||Malcolm M Brown||Wendy Parkinson||David Samways|
|1969-70||Peter N Macklay||-||-|
|1968-69||Peter N Macklay||-||-|
|1967-69||David R McLean||-||-|
|1966-67||Ian V J Smith||-||-|
|1965-66||John W Coleman||John G Hallett||-|
|1964-65||John W Coleman||David R Ingram||-|
|1963-64||Richard C L Brown||Edmund Shuttleworth||-|
|1962-63||Roy R Tiffin||David J Orledge||-|
|1961-62||David W Friend||-||-|
|1958-59||John G Underwood||-||-|
The Society's first Honorary President was Paul Taylor (1914-1981), the last bell founding Taylor of John Taylor's bell foundry.
Following Paul Taylor's resignation, Rev. Bernard Baines (1920 - 2007) was elected as the second Honorary President on 24 February 1981. Bernard Baines had been a curate at All Saints' Church and was very supportive of the Society during his time there. He had acted as Master of Ceremonies at the Annual Dinner for the previous three years. Bernard died (after a period of ill health) on 31 May 2007 aged 86. Subsequently, an EGM was held on 15 January 2008 to amend the constitution in order to allow formal nomination of future Honorary Presidents. This allowed Honorary Presidents to serve a maximum of two, five year terms.
In the following elections, Adrian Sweeting was elected as the third Honorary President of The Society.
Dee Smith, the Master of 1981-82, succeeded Adrian Sweeting at the 54th Anniversary Dinner on 18 February 2012.
On 7 February 2017, an EGM was held to vote on the length of the presidency, which was subsequently shortened to three years. At the 59th Annual Dinner two weeks later, the result of the recent election was announced, and Roger J Lawson, the Master of 1984-85, was declared the fifth Honorary President of The Society.
Our Honorary President, the Reverend Bernard Baines, sadly passed away on Thursday 31st May 2007, after a period of ill health. He had been a curate at All Saints' Church, Radford and was always
supportive of NUSCR's involvement there.
He became the Honorary President in February 1981, having acted as Master of Ceremonies at the Dinner for the previous three years, and since then has been a key part of Society life, from his lively interjections and speech at the Annual Dinners, to his messages in the Natter. He opened his doors to members of the Society every year for his annual "Do", a merry affair involving home-made wine and (often tuneless) renditions of Christmas Carols. Aside from these occasions his door was always open to anyone who wanted to talk something through, or simply needed a cup of tea and a sympathetic ear.
He will be sorely missed as a part of the Society, particularly at our Anniversary Dinner in February, and we extend our sympathies to June.
"Very sorry to hear of Bernard's passing. Bernard brought so much to NUSCR and ensured the church fully appreciated the efforts that the ringers went to - not just in ringing, but also the care, maintenance and improvement of the bells. Bernard's Do was a highlight in each of my 3 years in Nottingham; it helped us bond with each other, with Bernard and June, with the Church and with the prospect of severe liver failure! Thank heavens the Health & Safety brigade never found out.
God bless, Bernard - I hope the Lord can cope with those awful jokes!"
Andrew Keech, NUSCR 1985 - 1988, NUSCR Master 1986/7
"Bernard was a great friend and supporter of all NUSCR did during our era in Nottingham (as indeed he has been ever since). I was ringing master in 1981 when he was elected President, and I well remember how honoured and proud he was to accept the post. We have very fond memories of his warmth, enthusiasm and support during our student days."
Andrew Young, former NUSCR Master
There was one peal and several quarters dedicated to Bernard, both by NUSCR and related organisations
A NUSCR peal of Lessness S Major was scored in tribute as well as a peal was scored by the Southwell Guild. To view the performance on BellBoard, click here
There were also many quarter peals rung including one rung at Beeston by local ringers, several of whom were also NUSCR members. This one can be found here
All is Well
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
whatever we were to each other
that we still are
call me by my old familiar name
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used
put no difference in your tone
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together
pray smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
without the trace of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
it is the same as it ever was
there is unbroken continuity
why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well
Henry Scott Holland
(1847-1918) Canon of St Paul's Cathedral