The bells ring out for ICE 200

ICE members and keen bell-ringers marked the start of ICE 200 with a special peal in London on 2 January.

ICE 200: Bell ringers (l to r) Andrew Preston, Barry Johnson, Janet Horton, Mungo Stacy, Luke Smith, Graham Slade, Christopher Povey, Noel Gibbin
ICE 200 logo
ICE 200: Bell ringers (l to r) Andrew Preston, Barry Johnson, Janet Horton, Mungo Stacy, Luke Smith, Graham Slade, Christopher Povey, Noel Gibbin

Eight ICE members came together at St Dunstan-in-the-West Church on Fleet Street to ring out a special peal to mark the start of ICE 200.

The church was chosen as it was in the Kendall Coffee House in Fleet Street that Henry Robinson Palmer, James Jones and Joshua Field met for the inaugural meeting of what would become the Institution of Civil Engineers and the world's oldest engineering body.

Chris Povey, a retired civil engineer and long-term member of the institution said: "It was important to mark January 2 as that was the date of the first meeting 200 years ago. We don't know exactly where the coffee house was but it would have been near the church."

The peal was carried in the English Style, which means that the bells swing fully upside down giving the ringers more control. The eight ICE members who took part are all keen bell-ringers.

"We knew we had to get it just right for this peal. They are never guaranteed. They can break down at any time because it is a mathematical progression of changes," Chris explains. "Things can definitely go wrong."

Fortunately the peal played out perfectly and was heard across Fleet Street and London.

Chris joined ICE as a student in 1968, when the institution turned 150, and became a full member in 1975.

"ICE has an enormous amount going for it but people don't seem to know what a civil engineer is. It has to be all about getting the message out," he says.

The original idea for the peal came from Ron Diserens but was unable to ring due to ill health.

ICE is encouraging members from across the world to help mark the bicentenary in whatever way they would like. For those looking for a way to support the bicentenary programme there are organised activities such as Explore Engineering, Pitch 200 and Café 200 detailed on our ICE 200 web pages.

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