Bow Bells: Download the sound

The sound of Bow Bells can now be downloaded thanks to The Times Atlas.

The idea came about when it was pointed out that the sound of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside is no longer heard over a wide area. It sounds deafening and dramatic if you stand in Bow Lane when the bells are rung out on Ascension Day.

But at best the bells are only heard within the area bounded by the Millennium Bridge in the south, Shoreditch in the north, the Barbican in the west and Spitalfields in the east.

A fascinating new map made available online shows that in 1851, when there was little traffic or industrial noise, the sound reached much further.

It’s interesting to see that then the circle embraced Stratford which means that the City’s bells were heard in Bow. It has long been claimed that real cockneys are those people born between Bow Church in the east end and St Mary-le-Bow in The City.

In the 13th-century Dick Whittington is reported to have heard the bells calling him back from Highgate.


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