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Local Heroes - Your streets were their streets Local Heroes - Your streets were their streets

The names of 197 local men who lost their lives in World War I are
inscribed on the bells of the Memorial Community Church in Plaistow. They are our local heroes

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A unique war memorial

One bell is dedicated to the Unknown Warrior

As far as we know, the Memorial Bells in Plaistow have the largest number of names cast into them of any set of bells in the UK, possibly the world.

The nearest equivalents would be the Loughborough Carillon or the National Memorial in Wellington New Zealand, which both have far more bells (carillons) but with fewer names.

So this memorial was an impressive undertaking for one church in what was then a very poor part of east London to honour its fallen, especially as all the money was raised locally.

 More bell facts….

It is unusual for a Baptist church to have bells. The only other Baptist Church which was supplied by Gillett and Johnston, also in 1925, was Park Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. Now the Riverside Church, it still has the original bells plus many more, making the largest carillon in the world.

A bell from Croydon boarding the boat to New York City

Chimes are much less common in British churches than the traditional English bells played with ropes.

Bells are frequently cast with a dedication to the person or organisation who paid for it, or in memory of someone who has died.

There are other chimes of bells dedicated to people who have been killed in a war. English Martyrs Roman Catholic church in Sparkhill, Birmingham has a chime of eight bells hung in 1946. The are cast with dedications including the names of 29 people killed either on active service or in air raids during the Second World War.

A prime example of war memorial bells is the 74-bell National War Memorial Carillon in Wellington, New Zealand. Of the 49 original Gillett & Johnston bells from 1929, 46 have inscription to specific individuals who fell in the First World War or regiments involved.

Another is the Loughborough Carillon, a civic war memorial with bells cast by Taylors of Loughborough. This has 47 bells dedicated to the 480 men from the town who fell in the Great War, and their names – with those who fell in later conflicts – are listed on plaques around the carillon tower. The bells have dedications cast into them but not the full list of the fallen.