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Memorial Church Gets New Bell

6.17.14

A new bell was installed yesterday in Memorial Church’s belfry.

A new bell was installed yesterday in Memorial Church’s belfry.

Photograph by Jim Harrison


Photograph by Jim Harrison


Photograph by Jim Harrison


Photograph by Jim Harrison

The center of Harvard Yard will once again be filled with the sonorous clang of a large bell, after a new one was installed yesterday in Memorial Church’s belfry. In June 2011—two months after the bell company Chime Master Systems installed a new clapper—Memorial Church officials noticed that the previous bell “was making a funny sound,” and soon realized that it had cracked. After determining that the new clapper had caused the crack, the University sued the installers. The original 5,000-pound bell—donated in 1932 by University president emeritus A. Lawrence Lowell, class of 1877—was deemed no longer usable, and was replaced by an electronic speaker that rang out over Harvard Yard at 8:40 a.m., every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and during Commencement; after this year’s ceremony, the speaker was removed. The John Taylor Bell Foundry in the United Kingdom, the same company that cast the original bell in 1926, also produced the new bell.

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