London is a commonly rung Surprise Minor method. Either as the standard ‘more difficult than Cambridge’ practice-night method, or as a basis for moving on to the many other Surprise Minor methods rung in spliced.
The method contains several pieces of work you may not have encountered before: point leads, fishtails and whole-turns being the most obvious. There is also plenty of wrong-hunting. Ringing a more ‘Cambridge-like’ method that has some of this work (Beverley or Surfleet perhaps) before moving on to London might be beneficial to avoid too much new stuff at once.
If you haven’t encountered wrong-hunting before, this is where you are hunting backwards—i.e. lead at handstroke then at backtroke, ringing in even places at backstroke on the way up and handstroke on the way down, etc. This can take some getting used to.
In London the treble is treble-bobbing as usual in Surprise, and so is always ‘right’. A bell hunting wrong can’t cross the path of a bell hunting right since they would clash, so London contains lots of single-places and points to swap the working bells from wrong to right when they need to work with the treble.
This tutorial will guide you through learning the method lead-by-lead, Similar to the Cambridge tutorial and for the same reasons.
2nds Place Bell
This lead is superficially similar to Cambridge, with the first half containing the “forwards” half of the front work, before you move on to work at the back. Start the lead with: “dodge, lead, second, point lead”.
The point at the end of the frontwork swaps you from hunting ‘right’ to hunting ‘wrong’, so to pass the treble (which is always hunting ‘right’) you must make a place—do so in 4ths.
The work at the back is sometimes call ‘Long London’: Dodge, lie, fishtail, lie. It will be less confusing if you don’t think of the fishtail as being a double-dodge.
Finish the lead by hunting back down, and becoming 3rds place bell.
3rds Place Bell
At the end of 2nds place bell you were hunting down, and 3rds place bell begins with a place in 3rds, turning you around to hunt back up.
At the back you do a fishtail, with the points at backstroke. This is not a double-dodge and will feel quite different.
Make 4ths on the way down. This begins a pattern for this lead where you alternate between making 3rds and making 4ths each time you pass through 3/4.
Lead (wrong) and then make places around a dodge with the treble in 3/4. Lie behind, and become 5ths place bell while hunting back down.
5ths Place Bell
5ths place bell is the symmetry lead, and consists of making 3rds and doing whole turns (lead-snap-lead).
Start by hunting down, and then alternate making 3rds and whole turns. Hunt up to the back after the last 3rds, and become 6ths place bell.
6ths Place Bell
6ths place bell is 3rds place bell backwards.
Start by lying behind then hunt down to make places around a dodge with the treble in 3/4 down.
Lead wrong, hunt up to make 4ths and then fishtail in 5/6. Finish the lead by hunting down to make 3rds, turn around and become 4ths place bell.
This lead also alternates between making 4ths and making 3rds, which may be a useful guide.
4ths Place Bell
4ths place bell is the opposite of 2nds place bell. Start by hunting up to do ‘Long London’ at the back, lying behind at the start, fishtailing 5/6 down, lying behind again and then dodging down with the treble.
Hunt down to the frontwork, making 4ths on the way.
The frontwork starts with a snap lead at backstroke, then make 2nds, lead, dodge with the treble and make 2nds to become 2nds place bell.
Putting it all together
Now that you know each part of the method, try ringing through a full plain course. Each lead end and half lead is marked.
Calls are in theory the same as Plain Bob and are done by swapping the 12 lead end to 14 (Bob) or 1234 (Single). This results in a bell making 4ths and the front bells either running in/out (in a Bob) or making a place (in a Single).
It is well worth making sure you have learnt what to do at the end of each lead as well as what to do at the start. Unlike in Plain Bob or Cambridge, the work preceding and/or following the lead end consists of wrong hunting or making a place. This results in the calls feeling very different to methods you may have rung already. Although as you have learnt each lead separately you should hopefully know when the end of the lead is approaching, and be able to use your knowledge of place starts to quickly pick up the line after the call.
If you are about to make 2nds in the middle of the frontwork, then instead run out and become 3rds place bell (make 3rds on the way up to a 5/6 fishtail). If you are just coming down from the a 5/6 fishtail, have made 3rds and are about to turn around, then run in and pick up 2nds place bell (frontwork). If you are coming down from Long London, then make 4ths instead of 3rds, and turn around to do Long London the other way around.
- Practice Out
- Practice In
- Practice Make
If you are just coming down from the a 5/6 fishtail and are making 3rds, then make 3rds over the lead end and become 3rds place bell. This results in 4 blows in 3rds in total, and start the lead by going back up to fishtail at the back.
If you have just finished Long London at the back then make 4ths as with a Bob, and all other positions are unaffected.
- Practice Make 3rds
- Practice Make 4ths
Hopefully this tutorial has helped with some of the learning so you can make the most of any practical experience you’re able to get.
Being able to competently ring London and Cambridge should give you enough confidence to try any other Minor method. If you’re looking for other Surprise methods to try then Wells is a good ‘London-over’ method with different frontwork. Or you might want to try Norwich or Carlisle so you have covered all four of the over-works in the Standard 41 Surprise Minor.