At 8.12am this morning, hundreds of thousands of people across the United Kingdom rang bells to celebrate the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in a mass participation artwork by Turner Prize winner Martin Creed.

Among places taking part were Big Ben, all four parliaments in the UK, British Embassies worldwide and the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. In an unfortunate turn, Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's bell flew apart on the HMS Belfast, just missing a bystander.

All The Bells is part of the London 2012 Festival, and forms the finale of the four-year Cultural Olympiad. It has been commissioned by Discovering Places, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad campaign to inspire the UK to discover their historic, built and natural environment.


Bell ringers in Coventry (photo: Richard Nelmes)


Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on HMS Belfast (photo: Anthony Charlton)


Bells being rung at St. George’s Market Belfast, (Photo: Brian Morrison)


People ringing bells outside the Houses of Parliament, photograph by David Poultney


Commons speaker Jon Bercow ringing his bell outside the Houses of Parliament (photo: David Poultney)

- by Rosie Bannister