Preservation lists

oakcroft13 bill at h...
Thu Feb 21 09:45:50 GMT 2002

Michael Wilby:

> Well, I suppose it would be a shame to lose Chelmsford
> for reasons of posterity, but I am extremely glad that
> I don't have to ring them week on week...

In conservation, balance is the key. There is great archealogical 
interest in older installations (and by that, I mean anything before 
1950!) but I would never advocate preservation of an 'unringable' 
installation because of its history. Bells and their fittings are 
cared for and preserved because they are rung. To try to preserve an 
unringable museum-piece in my view leads to eventual decay and 

The physical recording of historical installations is well covered - 
measurements, photographs, preservation of interesting sections of 
frames etc. are all normal custom and practice. What is not well done 
is preservation of the audible heritage.

As an example, I was very fond of the sound of the St Martin-in-the-
fields Rudhall 12; striking, rather than beautiful, I'm glad I did't 
have to ring there every week. It would be impossible to argue 
against their retuning when this became possible. But were there a 
set of good recordings of the individual bells prior to tuning I 
think we could gain interesting insights into Rudhall's design 
principles for higher numbers that are now denied us.

Chelmsford are on my list of bells I must record before it is too 
late . . .

Bill H

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