This week we show an advert for the 1904 sale of the Friary Foundry Works in Salisbury. This letter was published in the Salisbury Journal of 1901 by a visitor to the city who, for a short time, worked at the foundry.

“How often I have been attracted, even when a lad, by the beautiful peals I have heard in various parts of England, and enjoyed the harmony and sweetness of the sounds from the belfry tower; little thinking of the work, the anxiety and the intellectual effort required of the ringers; and the exactitude, care and skill necessary from start to finish in the installation of a peal.

“The more we investigate the details, the more we are impressed with the instinct as well as knowledge necessary, for the correct blending of the metals to produce the perfect tone, sweetness and sonorousness of sound; and also in fitting and hanging say a peal with a tenor of three tons!

“Bells come in and bells go out refitted – many recast and improved beyond recognition. Like all good work and true it is done unostentatiously.

“In the yard there is a peal of bells waiting to have a new treble cast and blended with them. They are 250 years old. What history surrounds them. What birthdays they have heralded. What weddings they have cheered. What sorrows they have tolled. Yet there they are practically as good as when cast except that the clappers require shifting.

The evening is drawing in and the Cathedral clock strikes the hour. The shadows are falling and I look at the glorious architecture, the work of previous generations, and tapping the bells it seems like the voices of the past.”

The writer of this letter was Richard O’Leary who, in 1912, lost his daughter Eileen in the Titanic disaster.