Guildford Diocese Guild of Church Bell Ringers Library

The Guild has an extensive Library, said to be the third largest collection of ringing books in the world. It includes complete runs of Bell News, Church Bells and The Ringing World (except the issues 1916-1921). There are also many books on bells, change-ringing, tower maintenance and legal matters.

Indeed, it is more than just a library: it also holds the Guild’s Archives and other historical material. Many books can be borrowed, although some can only be consulted on site.

If you wish to view any of the items from the Library and Archive please search their Archive Catalogue here 

A Brief History

It was not until 1931 that a Committee was set up to create a Guild Library. The Library was then founded in 1933 as a result of the hard work that he had done already and the enthusiasm of Mr Charles Hazelden of St. Nicolas Guildford. A Sub-committee was set up to oversee the running of the Library. The appointment of the first Librarian in 1933 was Mr Hazelden who later was a Vice President of the Guild. After Mr Hazelden’s death in 1963, Mr Frederick Housden undertook the post until he moved away in 1965. Miss Yvonne Eloie, niece of the first Librarian, then took up the appointment.

Until 1981, although administered at times by a committee, most of the work had devolved on the Librarian. A Library sub-committee was re-established in 1982, with guidelines for its responsibilities set out in the Guild rules. The committee comprised the Librarian and one other member of the executive committee, together with additional members who may be co-opted. Whereas now the sub-committee comprises the Librarian one other member of the executive committee and two other appointed members, there can be more than two appointed members if required.

Originally housed in the belfry of St. Nicholas’s, Guildford, and at the home of the Librarian, some books were transferred to Farnham tower during the war years. Since 1973, the collection has been housed in a purpose built case in the crypt of the Cathedral, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter. In recent years three purpose built small cabinets have been made and they are housed in the tower by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter. These contain the Guild Peal books, the Bell Adviser’s DAC papers on tower within the Guild and other archive papers such as personnel peal records books to give more room in the crypt book case.

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