A cacophony of bells rang out across the UK this morning at exactly 8.12am to celebrate the launch of the London 2012 Olympics. Masterminded by Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed, the project, entitled Work No. 1197, called for ‘all the bells in the country’ to be ‘rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes’.
Broadcast live on BBC television and radio, the London 2012 Festival event was open to all, with those wishing to take part registering at allthebells.com. Many organisations and high-profile figures were among those who registered, including the Royal Navy, British Army, RAF, National Theatre, Arts Council and Creative Scotland, Churches Conservation Trust, Handbell Ringers of Great Britain, Mayor of London, Archbishop of Westminster, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and British Federation of Youth Marching Band Organisations.
At the heart of the event was Big Ben, which chimed 40 times during the work’s three-minute duration. This was thought to be the first time the 13.5 tonne Great Bell in the Palace of Westminster had been rung outside its regular time-keeping schedule since February 1952, when it marked the funeral of King George VI.