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Dover, Old Town Hall (Maison Dieu)


Photo: Hajotthu, Jun 2009 (Wikipedia CCA-S

  • The Zebrugge Bell hung for swing chiming
  • Tenor: 3 cwt approx.
  • Grid Ref: TR316417
  • The Zebrugge bell presented by the King of Belgium to Dover
  • Building Listed Grade: I Click for Heritage details.

Details of the Bells

Bell Weight
(most recent)
Diameter Note Date Founder Canons Retuned
҂ Single bell The Zebrugge Bell 3 cwt approx.22½" c.1890 Marcel Michiels, Snr, Tournai, Belgium Peg Never

҂  - Hung for swing chiming

Inscriptions

History

c 1890 A bell was cast in the late 19th century by Marcel Michiels, Snr at his Louvain foundry. It was made for M A Bouhoulle, a prominent Antwerp philanthropist and engineer. The bell was fixed at the end of the Mole on Zeebrugge harbour. It is not clear whether A Anvers was the contractor who fixed it, or whether it was acquired by the Germans and fixed by them for use as an alarm bell on the Mole.
1923 After the 1st World War, Admiral Sir Roger Keyes (who had commanded the British action which secured the Mole and impaired the entrance to Zeebrugge harbour) acquired the bell. The Naval Raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend were carried out by volunteers and denied the effective use of the ports to the Germans. Eleven Victoria crosses and 679 other decorations were awarded. Some 200 British Servicemen were killed and 400 were wounded. The bell was presented to the Town and Port of Dover in the name of the King of Belgium as a memorial to the sacrifice of British Servicemen in the Raid on Zeebrugge on 23rd April 1918 and as a token of the friendship between Zeebrugge and Dover.
2017 The bell was cleaned and restored by John Taylor & Co in 2018 in time for the celebration of the centenary of the Armistice. Each year on Remembrance Sunday the Zeebrugge Bell is rung by the Mayor of Dover during the Act of Remembrance. [1]
[1] Zeebrugge Bell returns to Dover ahead of 2018 centenary. The Zeebrugge Bell has returned to Dover following restoration and cleaning at the Loughborough bell foundry of John Taylor & Co. The Zeebrugge Bell was given to the people of Dover by HM The King of the Belgians, Albert I, as a souvenir of the naval raid on Zeebrugge harbour on St George’s Day (23 April 1918). The Bell was welcomed back to Dover by Cllr Neil Rix, the Town Mayor of Dover, Cllr Sue Chandler, the Chairman of Dover District Council, and Tony Yelverton, Managing Director of Hipperson Builders, the project contractors who also completed conservation work to the bell housing and tower. The Zeebrugge Bell is housed at Dover’s Grade I listed Maison Dieu and is struck each year by the Town Mayor at noon on St George’s Day (23 April) as part of annual commemorations organised by Dover Town Council. The centenary of the Zeebrugge Raid will be commemorated in Dover on Monday, 23 April 2018 with a series of events organised by Dover Town Council. Later in the day, Royal Marines Heritage Trails will be launched in Deal. The Royal Marines played a pivotal role in the raid on Zeebrugge with many of them trained at the Royal Marines Depot in Deal. (www.dover.uk.com, Fri 24 Nov 2017)

Gallery


St George's Day service in Dover on April 23, 1923, a fine postcard by J.G. Whorwell, of Bench Street, commemorating the epic raid on a canal and dry dock at the enemy-occupied Belgian port of Zeebrugge in the First World War. The service, which became an
Photo: Kentish History Forum (Ellen Kate)

The lower plaque below the bell with the inscription: The Zeebrugge Bell The bronze bell above you was a gift of the King of the Belgians and is a memorial to the sacrifice of British Servicemen in the Raid on Zeebrugge on 23rd April 1918. This bell is struck at noon every year on the anniversary. The Naval Raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend were carried out by volunteers and denied the effective use of the ports to the Germans. Eleven Victoria crosses and 679 other decorations were awarded. Some 200 British Servicemen were killed and 400 were wounded. A number of the fallen are buried in St James' Cemetery, Dover. The Dover Society Stad Brugge Onthuld ter ere van de langdurige vriendschap tussen Dover en Zeebrugge
Photo: Kentish History Forum

The bell hanging outside.
Photo:

The upper plaque under the bell with the inscription: The bell hanging above was taken from the Belgians by the Germans in the War 1914-1918 and fixed on The Mole at Zeebrugge to give warning of approaching aircraft and naval attacks by the Allies. It was presented to the corporation of Dover by HM the King of the Belgians through Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Keyes Bart KCB KCVO etc as a souvenir of the Naval Raid on Zeebrugge on St George's Day 1918
Photo: Peter Alhadeff

The bell at John Taylor Bellfoundry in Loughborough having been cleaned up.
Photo: Simon Adams, 2018


Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent Page updated: 31 December 2020