LEEDS UNIVERSITY Parkinson Tower  SE 294348

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The Parkinson Tower was built in 1950 as the final stage of a large building project by Lanchester, Lucas & Lodge.  This Portland Stone faced tower is a landmark of Leeds.


There are four bells hung for stationary chiming by the clock.

Bell Founder Date Cwt-Qtr-Lb Diameter Note
1 John Taylor of Loughborough 1952 4-0-18   D
2 John Taylor of Loughborough 1952 6-1-4   B
3 John Taylor of Loughborough 1952 8-3-20   A
4 John Taylor of Loughborough 1952 12-3-8   G



Frame and Fittings

The bells hang in a fabricated girder frame and are struck by external clock hammers.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BELLS - by Chris Nicholson, estate services.
In early 1952 a sum of money was offered by G W Chapman FSAA to the University for any luxury the Authorities felt that the University could not otherwise afford.
It was suggested that a set of chimes might be installed in the Parkinson Tower, then in March 1951 an estimate was obtained for a set of bell’s to chime the Westminster chimes at a cost of approximately £1,600. Messrs Gents who gave the estimate suggested installing synthetic chimes at about half the cost. There was serious doubts about synthetic chimes and after a lot of investigation at various installations in Leeds and Bradford and listening to a record of experimental electronic chimes which had been installed in Leicester, it was decided that imitation chimes were out of the question.    
Having decided on real bells a sub-Committee was formed early in 1952 to consider the question in detail. After visits had been paid to various Churches in Leeds to ascertain the minimum size of tenor bell which would have appropriate dignity, it was decided that a chime of four bells should be installed with a tenor bell having a pitch no higher then ’A` flat, depending upon the funds available. Competitive estimates were obtained and an order placed in September 1952. Owing to the generosity of Mr. Chapman it was found possible to accept a tender of £1,863 for four bells, the largest of which is ’G’ weighing 13 cwts. The other bells, A, B and D weighed 9, 6 and 4 cwts respectively, the total chimes weighing nearly 33 cwts.
These bells were cast in October of 1952, by John Taylor and Co. founders of Loughborough, and were installed in April. Special precautions were taken to insulate the mechanism, so that hammer blow will not be transmitted through the tower to the rooms on the fourth floor.

It was also suggested that an original chime be composed and it was agreed that the chimes “should be obvious rather then complex, tuneful rather then attempting any particular melody and should imply the simplest of harmonies - that is, the tonic and dominant”, and that they should not be reminiscent of the Cambridge (or “Westminster”) quarters in any way.
Several alternative compositions by Professor Denny from the School of Music were recorded and carefully considered, and eventually a series was unanimously approved, to be known as the “Leeds quarter”.
At the first quarter hour they play: -
G A D B G - 5 notes
At the second quarter they play: -
G B A D B A G A B G  - 10 notes
At the third quarter they play:-
B A D G B A D B A B D G A D B G - 16 notes
At the hour they chime: -
G B A D B A G A B G A D G B A D B A B D - 21 notes
A ceremony took place on the 14 May 1953, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the opening of the Parkinson building and the inaugurate turning on of the bells at 11.45am by the Chancellor, the Princess Royal, the vice Chancellor, Mr G W Chapman and guests. The Leeds quarter was heard for the first time at 12 noon.  



ARA visited.