The Poland Street Hand-Bell Ringers
One of the prettiest and most thoroughly enjoyable entertainments it has ever been our pleasure to take part in was that on Saturday evening, when the Poland-street hand-bell ringers – who had the honour of performing before the Queen and the Royal family at Osborne- appeared before an exceedingly large audience at the New Town Hall, Ryde. The performance was given under the auspices of the Ryde Temperance Society, and the Bell-ringers themselves are total abstainers. Their manipulation upon the bells was exquisitely beautiful, especially their execution of the ever-popular piece, “The Blue Bells of Scotland,” which gave unbounded pleasure at Osborne. Had the performance consisted of bell-ringing alone, it might have been tedious and wearisome; but the conductor , Mr. Miller, has a happy knack of sustaining the liveliness of an audience by his funny remarks at the frequent intervals; and the entertainment was further made up of duets , songs, melodies, and recitations- all bearing upon the question of sobriety- in which all the five performers took part. Altogether the entertainment was of the most pleasing nature.
Source: Isle of Wight Times 10 August 1871
Charles J. Harvart was secretary to the Poland Street Young Men’s Teetotal Society in London and recruited Mr. Duncan Miller to form a group of hand-bell ringers. Under the name of the Poland Street Hand-Bell Ringers, they made their first appearance in 1866. Mr. Harvart’s sons, Walter and Henry and Mr. Miller were permanent members of the group, which was also known as the Royal Hand-Bell Ringers and other members came and went. They performed on more than one occasion for the Queen and her family at Osborne.
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