Monday, 3 May 2010

Derby Cathedral

This photo was taken by a friend. I have a shot similar to this one but, being rather taller than me, he was able to get a much better angle! The building is, of course, Derby Cathedral, viewed from just above the Joseph Wright Memorial on Iron Gate - but notice the second tower in the background. This belongs to the Roman Catholic parish church of St Mary and is very similar in design to the Cathedral tower, but rather shorter, standing at 35.7m (117 ft) as opposed to the Cathedral's 65m (212 ft)

Previously, Derby Cathedral was known as All Saints' Church, but the building was given cathedral status by Royal Charter in 1927. Most of the building dates from 1725, but the tower predates this, being constructed between 1510 ansd 1530. The reason for this anomoly is that the original building was demolished and rebuilt around the tower.

In total, there are 189 spiral steps to the top of the tower (and yes, I did count them when we abseiled), with a ringing chamber being accessed after 82 (good excuse to stop for a breather).

The Cathedral boasts the oldest ring of ten bells in the world, most having been in place since 1678, when the ring was increased from six to ten. The largest bell weighs 965 kg, rings in D-Flat, is over 500 years old and is believed to have come from Dale Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monastries. The youngest bell, No. 3, is dated 1693! As well as being rung for services, the bells are struck by hammers to serve as chimes for the clock. The hammers can be swung aside for full ringing.

In addition to the bells, Derby Cathedral tower has another set of famous residents; Peregrine falcons. They were first discovered on the tower in 2005, a nesting platform was constructed in 2006 and the Peregrines have returned each year since. Because of the interest they caused, webcams were installed in 2007, to enable people to observe them live online.

If you would like a peep, there are two webcams; one viewing from the left and one from the right. The 2010 breeding season is well underway and the adult peregrines are much in view, but I would swear that they know exactly where the camera is and deliberately keep their backs turned for much of the time! I did catch a glimpse of an eye this morning though :)

There is also a blog devoted to them on blogspot! Click here.

PS: 20:02 I've just had an email alert to say that the first Peregrine chick has hatched today! What timing. Haven't seen the chick on the webcam yet, but the adult is much more alert now.

PPS: Now 21:49 Have seen the adult feeding what looks like 4 chicks :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how amazing. Isn't that a splendid use of technology? They are such gorgeous birds . I think they are increasingly common in cities. Leeds has some, but no web-cam that I'm aware of.