1944 saw an increase in the number of enthusiastic young ringers, many of whom learnt to ring on silenced bells due to the ban on ringing during the war. Although this increase was seen across all areas of the existing Midland Counties Association (MCA), it was Harold J Poole, Ringing Master at Leicester Cathedral, who instigated talks on the decentralisation of what was a very large geographic association. It was proposed that the MCA, which covered the areas of Burton, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, be divided up into four separate Guilds, and at the AGM of the MCA in April of 1945 it was agreed that the Association would be divided as of 31st December 1945.
A meeting to found the Leicester Guild was held in November of that year, attended by 150 ringers from all over Leicestershire. It was decided that the name be the Leicester Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers. A proposal that the name be ‘of Change Ringers’ had been defeated, thus setting the Guild off on a footing allowing for all ringers, regardless of ability, to be included.
Six districts were formed, each area chosen based on the ability for members to be able to reach towers in their district by bus!
The last peal for the MCA was rung at the cathedral on 31st December 1945 – 5280 changes of Yorkshire Surprise Maximus.
The first peal for the new LDG was rung at Croft on 1st January 1946, the members of the Guild obviously starting as they planned to go on, and since then there have been many significant peals rung for the LDG, both on tower bells and handbells.
There have been many first peals in methods, most notably the peal of Bristol Maximus on 22nd May 1950 at Leicester Cathedral; but also the first peal of Kent Treble Bob 14 in 1951; the first peal-length of Stedman Sextuples on tower bells, rung at St Margarets in 1971, but didn’t count as a peal as there was no tenor cover; and the first peal of grandsire sextuples rung on handbells in 1972.
As well as first peals in methods, LDG also completed several long lengths peals, many of them on handbells. The stand out example of long lengths though must be the ringing of the extent of major at the bellfoundry on 27th-28th July 1963 in 17hrs 58 minutes.