The Carillon Tower in Loughborough is marking its 100th anniversary in 2023.

This year, Charnwood Borough Council marked the momentous year with a ceremony to celebrate the tower on July 22, 2023, exactly 100 years since it was officially opened.

Find out more about the Carillon Centenary event

What is the Carillon Tower?

The Carillon Tower was built following the First World War as a memorial to locals who served and lost their lives during the conflict.

When the Carillon Tower was completed in 1923, it was the first grand carillon in England and is situated in Queen’s Park in Loughborough.

The Carillon was designed by Sir Walter Tapper and was built by William Moss & Sons Ltd of Loughborough.

The tower was opened on July 22, 1923, with Field Marshall Sir William Robertson hosting the unveiling and the Bishop of Peterborough pronouncing the dedication.

There are 15 Carillons in the UK. Loughborough’s is the only stand alone Carillon.

How was the Carillon Tower designed?

The Carillon Tower was deigned by Sir Walter Tapper, the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The outside of the tower is made up of three sections. The ground section was constructed from Portland stone, the middle section was built with red brick and the upper section is copper clad wood.

Names of those who lost their lives in the First World War are displayed on bronze plaques on the ground section. The names of Loughborough servicemen who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War and other conflicts were added after

What is inside the Carillon Tower?

The Carillon Tower is 46 metres tall making it one of the tallest structures in Loughborough.

The landmark houses 47 bells which were cast at John Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough, the last major bell foundry in Britain.

The tower is also home to the Loughborough Carillon and War Memorial Museum, which is open between Thursday and Sunday, and displays war medals, memoirs and much more.

You can find more out on the Loughborough Carillon and War Memorial Museum website.

Do recitals still take place in the Carillon Tower?

Yes. During the winter months, recitals take place on the first Thursday of each month at 1pm.

They are performed on every Thursday and Sunday at 1pm between Easter Sunday and September.

The renowned English composer Edward Elgar composed a piece of music named Carillon Chimes specifically for the official opening.

The bells are played by a ‘carillonneur’ who is currently Caroline Sharpe. The Carillon is played from the ‘Clavier’ which is located on the third floor on the tower.

What is the Carillon Tower used for today?

The Carillon Tower hosts many civic events throughout the year.

The annual Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday events are held outside the Carillon Tower and are attended by residents in their numbers year on year.

Over the past year, the Carillon Tower has hosted the Proclamation of King Charles III as well as welcoming the Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.

Tributes were also laid at the Carillon Tower to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II following her death in September 2022.

What can you see from the top of the Carillon Tower?

The top of the Carillon Tower offers some fantastic views of Loughborough.

You will be able to see Queen’s Park, where the tower is located and then towards the town centre, including the market place and Loughborough Town Hall.

What events took place to mark the centenary of the Carillon Tower?

Events took place in Queen's Park in Loughborough on Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23.

A special recital was played by borough carillonneur, Caroline Sharpe before a Thanksgiving service took place.

A new muscial composition was premiered during the service. The musical piece named 'Silent Chimes' was written by Pip Greasley, a locally based composer.

Visitors could learn about the Carillon Tower's history and Loughborough's heritage at a number of information stalls which were run by organisations within the Loughborough Heritage Forum.

Musical enterntainment was provided by Embers Duo and children's activities were led by the Council's sport and recreation team, Active Charnwood.

The Carillon Tower was also open throughout the weekend for people to explore the 100-year old tower and to take in the views of Loughborough from the top.

Find out more about the events

Names on the Carillon Tower:

We spoke to Mel Gould, chairman of the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum about some of the 478 servicemen who are remembered at the Carillon Tower and found out more about their stories. You can find out more in our news story or by watching the video below.

How is the Carillon Tower played?

Caroline Sharpe is the borough carillonneur and plays the 47 bells which make up the Carillon Tower.

We spoke to Caroline to find out more about how the instrument is played and the pride of playing the Carillon in its centenary year.

New musical composition written for the Carillon Tower's centenary

Composer Pip Grealsey wrote a special composition to mark the centenary of Loughborough's Carillon Tower named 'Silent Chimes'.

In this video, Pip tells us more about the musical piece and how it feels to follow in Edward Elgar's footsteps in composing music for the Carillon Tower.

Click here to listen to Silent Chimes

Last updated: Thu 27th July, 2023 @ 09:30