Wills Memorial Building – Bristol Doors Open Day 2014

The second place we went to for Bristol Doors Open Day this year, was Wills Memorial Building where we had a tour of the impressive tower there :)

The building was built as a memorial to a member of the Wills family, started in 1915 and completed in 1925. The family was big in the tobacco  business and they wanted the building to be an iconic statement piece in the city.

The building is now part of the University of Bristol, and as well as the Doors Open Day yesterday, it was also a university open day on Saturday….so it was very busy there ^_^;


The first part of the tour involved an informative talk held in a room on the fifth floor, which we reached by lift, but the next part involved more then 100 steps to reach the bell chamber…it was worth it though to see “Big George” though, the 9 tonne bell which hangs in the tower ^^

We stopped at the bell where a guide gave a talk about some of the bell’s history, and it’s pretty cool to be able to stand so close to such a massive thing such as this.

The bell has a 1 tonne “clapper” in its middle which sounds when the bell is rung…..the bell is able to swing through 120 degrees when it is swung back and forth to ring, and it’s only rung on special occasions.

There’s also a 1 tonne hammer which can strike the side of the bell to sound a chime, and this is done on ever hour through the day.


From the bell chamber we next climbed another set of about 100 more steps to reach the roof of the tower.

At over 60 meters high, you can get a pretty good view from up there :D

We could easily see Park Street below us, which is a fairly steep hill leading up to near the base of the tower, but from up at that height the street looked oddly flat and level ;>.>


Back down in the bell chamber, we were able to see when the bell chimed twice to mark 2pm….it was pretty loud, but actually not as loud as I was expecting…..I think the group who were actually next to the bell when it sounded got hit with a louder sound though :P


As an added bonus, we also got to meet “Bark at Ee” again, from the Gromit Unleashed trail back in 2013 :)

This Gromit is owned by the university now, and was standing in the entrance hall of Wills Memorial Building on Saturday.


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