Friday, 16 January 2015

Ringing the changes

A quick note about a couple of new bell-related signs.

First, Burwell. As is the case with most pubs with the word ‘bell’ in their name, the Five Bells stands close to the parish church, the stunning St Mary’s, which Pevsner describes as ‘[t]he most perfect example in the country of the Perp[endicular] ideal of the glasshouse’. And it did indeed have a peal of five bells from c.1709 to 1955, when three further trebles were added, so the pub is rightly named. It got a new sign over the summer.

On the left is the sign that graced the Five Bells until about August 2014. A fairly tradition motif, nicely arranged and executed. The new sign on the right, apparently designed by the current licensee, is anything but traditional, an inventive idea of nesting the bells Russian-doll style. I gather opinion in the village is mixed. I think it’s quite a clever idea, and it’s certainly eye-catching, but I can see why others might not like it much.
Back in Cambridge the Six Bells has also finally been visited by GK’s branding facelift pixies. The new sign, as of January 2015, is on the right, another traditional treatment like the old sign at Burwell, t bells arranged symmetrically and linked by a charming ribbon. Inoffensive, and it could have been a whole lot worse. But I have a soft spot for the more unusual sign it replaced, with shiny new bells sitting in he foundry. I hope it’s been kept safe.

As for the name, well, there isn’t a church, with bells or otherwise, anywhere near the place, nor was there when the pub first appeared in the 1830s, and at no time since, so this one’s a complete mystery. If anyone knows, do get in touch!

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