[Bell Historians] St Saviour's, Leicester

laithbells at a... laithbells at a...
Tue Dec 31 03:59:10 GMT 2002

To David Cawley

Some background information on St. Saviour's & St Mark's Leicester City.
As part of the 1988 Australian Bicentennial ANZAB projects (refer Elizabeth 
Bleby's "They Sing In Strange Lands") I was seeking a ring of bells for St. 
Saviour's Cathedral Goulburn, New South Wales (adjacent to Canberra, A.C.T.). 
I was advised by Mr. Alan Berry, the M.D. of Taylors, of the availability of 
St Saviour's bells and I said I would come to have a look at them and discuss 
the project, but when I arrived at Loughborough the tenor, as the last bell, 
had just been broken up that morning. I was most unhappy at this destruction 
of a potentially re-usable ring, and as the transfer within the same 
dedication I felt would have been pleasant to achieve. 

Shortly afterwards Taylors advised me that St. Mark's from Leicester would 
also be available so I promptly completed acquisition of these via the 
Cathedral and the New South Wales Bicentennial authority. I was particularly 
pleased when informed that St. Mark's was a complete Taylors "Grimthorpe" 
style of ring as there was, to my knowledge, no other such ring in Australia 
(or overseas). I was shortly after, however, upset again to find that 
Taylors had broken up the treble and recast it as they considered that it was 
unsuitable for re-tuning either within the existing eight or, also argued, 
for the proposed augmentation to 10 or 12. Had I been advised at the time I 
would have insisted that this be retained as the service bell, with a 
completely new bell to be cast as the treble for the ring.

When I was actively engaged on these projects in 1988 the foundries appeared 
to be more interested in breaking up bells and recasting than they were in 
facilitating keeping history ringing. The first example of a positive 
response for bell re-use I came across was with Alan Hughes at Whitechapel, 
who offered me the G & J 1920's chime from St Paul's Canonbury, of which I 
used the back six at Claremont, Perth, W.A., and at Rockingham, W.A. 

This work now being done by the Keltek Trust is therefore, I believe, of 
great importance, both to provide bells to churches etc. that may not be able 
to afford new castings, but even more so to provide ongoing maintenance of 
the history of bells.

Laith Reynolds

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