An Evocative 19thC Bronze School Bell with Wrought Iron Axle & Swing Handle


Origin: English
Period: Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1860
Height: 11 inches
Axle Width: 20 inches
Bell Diameter: 10.75 inches

The Victorian school bell with ruled decoration around the circumference in the form of three beaten lines to the base and one to the top.

A wonderful, awe-inspiring architectural item, the bell has a beautiful patina, and although rusty, the axle and handle is structurally sound which is a rare occurrence. There are no cracks or repairs to the bell and it is in very original condition save the lack of a clanger though upon striking the bell still tolls with a beautiful resonant ring.

As only the wealthy could afford timepieces it was not wholly surprising that Victorian children would arrive at school at different times. Additionally, it was not unusual for children to have to walk up to five miles to many Victorian schools, particularly in country districts. Rung by a custodian, bells were important in so much as if the children were near enough to hear the school bell ring then they only had another 10 minutes to arrive. At the end of the day, when the bell rung to announce the close of school, the pupils would’ve marched out to the playground in perfect time.

Some day the bell will sound,
Some day my heart will bound,
As with a shout;
That school is out...
And lessons done,
I homeward run.

- Maltbie Davenport Babcock

This bell happily tolled in the time of the dunces cap, the drill and the cane, and we sincerely hope it is yet still to do so, now, in modern times.