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Small Bells Ring is co-commissioned by Super Slow Way and Coventry City of Culture Trust, in collaboration with Lancashire and Coventry Library Services and their communities, and Canal & River Trust and British Council. It cruises the canals of Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool and Stoke-On-Trent, spending the summer in Coventry as part of its City of Culture year, and returning to East Lancashire for British Textile Biennial 2021.

The RV Furor Scribendi

The steel hull of the boat was fabricated to the artists’ design by a third generation boat builder in Stoke-On-Trent, with the exterior by a specialist boat hand painter. The interior was fitted out by the artists and their team, incorporating specially milled local oak and chestnut, a series of new oil paintings by the artists, new seating and upholstery, a set of new ceramic vessels cast from items found floating in the canals, and many bookshelves for the short story collection. The boat’s name, Furor Scribendi, meaning ‘furious writing’, takes inspiration from an essay by Octavia E. Butler from her short stories, Blood Child, originally written for the Writers of the Future anthology series. Octavia Butler translates “Furor Scribendi”, as “A Rage for Writing”. The prefix R.V. stands for Research Vessel as the boat will be conducting research and publishing its findings regularly via the Log of the RV Furor Scribendi.


We are looking for readers, writers, canal enthusiasts, knitters, bankers, walkers, crew, historians, astronomers, cake bakers, story tellers, sewers, engineers, runners, outgoing types, shy types, teachers, printers, joiners, carers, ornithologists, skippers, tea makers, tattooists, medics, under achievers, architects, scientists, waiters, shop keepers, taxi drivers, gardeners, aliens, ghosts, time travellers, cooks, politicians, musicians, circus performers, anthropologists, bus drivers, farmers, parents, comedians and all niche special interests people. If this is you, get in touch.

The Story

The books that were the seeds from which Small Bells Ring grew are Oranges Are
Not The Only Fruit by Jeannette Winterson and The Log of the S.S. the Mrs
Unguentine by Stanley Crawford. The library where it all began is Accrington
Library where Knowledge is Power and Oh For a Book and a Cosy Nook is written
in the very fabric of the building.

This is the story of how it all began:

Heather Peak Morison Reflects on Small Bells Ring