The Death of the King

6 February 2022

I was nine years of age in 1952 when the late King George VI passed away and the whole nation was in mourning and shock.  

At the time, I was living with my parents in a Victorian house on Queens Road, Loughborough.  I remember very well a cold evening shortly after the King’s death on the 6th February, being led by my father to the rear door of our family home.

“I think that you should hear something that you will probably never forget,” said my father.

All Saint’s Parish Church was only about a mile away from where we were standing, and its ten bells were ringing out into the cold night air.  I had heard the sounds many times before, but this time something was disturbingly different.

The bells rang out their normal ‘one to ten’ bright song once, and then changed to a much deeper sound, a sort of ‘underwater’ tone that I had never heard before.  Bewildered by this phenomenon, I asked my dad “why do the bells sound so sad?”

“It is because the king has died, and the bell ringers are ringing a special half-muffled peal in his memory,” said Dad.

I remember shivering with cold and having a ‘funny’, much deeper feeling that, at that age, I was unable to put into words.

David Taylor

Photo of The Daily Telegraph in the public domain on