Cathedral Bell of St Stephen

Cathedral Bell of St Stephen's, Brisbane, Australia

Public Art : Cathedral Bell of St Stephen

Cast : Mears and Stainbank

Foundry : Whitechapel Bell Foundry (London)

Date : c1887

Description : A 2856 kg bell sitting on concrete blocks.

Cost : £250

Donated by : Mrs Kelly

Location : Under the verandah at the old St Stephen's Cathedral, Brisbane, Queensland.  

Inscription :

Cathedral Bell 1888-1988

Cast : Mears & Stainbank

Whitechapel Bell Foundry (London) est 1570
(maker of America's famous "Liberty Bell")
Arrival : Brisbane July 1887 - R.M.S. "Dacca"
Blessed - Archbishop Robert Dunne - 15 April 1888
Donor - Mrs Kelly Boundary Street Brisbane
Cost 250 pounds
Weight : 2856 kg

History of the Cathedral Bell of St Stephen : Okay, to be honest, I couldn't find very much information about this bell, other than what is on the inscription. So here is a recap, the bell was made in the same foundary as the American Liberty Bell and London's Big Ben (Whitechapel Bell Foundary,London) and was shipped to Australia on the RMS Dacca, thanks to the generous Mrs Kelly of Boundary Street, Brisbane. I have yet to work out if the bell was intended for the old St Stephen Church or the St Stephen Cathedral. If anyone knows more about this, please let me know at There is another bell connected with the Cathedral but it has a completely different history.

St Stephen's Cathedral Bell and Jack Ripper: The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, where the Cathedral Bell was made, is the oldest manufacturing company in Britain. Established in 1570, the foundry was in operation in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

It seems the Cathedral bell was made the year before Jack The Ripper ran a muck on the streets of Whitechapel (1888). The foundry, was only a ten minute walk from the bloody murders and was, at the time, operating under the name Mears & Stainbank. The area around Whitechapel wasn't particularly nice, with over 1400 known prostitutes operating in the 80 or so brothels. In fact Whitechapel was pretty much an overcrowded, disease riddled, rat infested part of London. If you visit the Whitechapel Bell Foundry website you can find out all about the Jack the Ripper connection. Who knows, Jack could have been working at the foundry and if that was the case, he could of helped make the Cathedral Bell (I know, straw clutching).


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