Lon­don Sur­prise Minor


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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice

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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice

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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice

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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice

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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice

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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice Out
  3. Prac­tice In
  4. 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.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice Make 3rds
  3. 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.