[Bell Historians] Re: Town Hall bells

David Cawley dave at d...
Wed Jun 4 19:31:30 BST 2003

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Adding to what I said yesterday, I realised that the biggest Civic Installa=
tion in the south was the 36-cwt chime of 12 at Hove Town Hall - another "m=
ini-Manchester", gutted and demolished about 40 years ago.

Anyone know what has happened to the Sunderland bells ?

Whilst looking up D Holmes, re Carl Zimmerman's request, I noted Basingsto=
ke Town Hall, 4 bells, 0-2-17, 0-3-22, 1-3-10 and 3-3-15 Warner 1890 recast=
into 1 new bell for Tadley St Paul in 1966 by Mears.

If Canterbury City Council, who demolished their medieval Guildhall in 1951=
, had been quicker off the mark, when purchasing Holy Cross Church as the n=
ew Guildhall, they would have had an anti-clockwise and very rough 5, 10-3-=
1 in Ab. As it is, all they have is the 17th & 18thC-frame. As it is, West=
gate-on-Sea were the lucky recipients.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: David Cawley=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com=20
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 9:33 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Re: Town Hall bells

Well, Andrew, you certainly had something to cheer you up after the CC !

The thing is that there are far more Victorian Town Halls etc in the nort=
h than in the south, and with the industrial progress of Lancs and Yorks, i=
t follows that a large number of Town Hall bells are to be found there (whe=
re they never existed before, unlike many in the south) with some pretty im=
pressive sized bells. Not only the Victorians: the two other municipal car=
illons, Newcastle and Spalding being 20th-century and in their present form=
quite recent. Manchester (1937) of course got lucky in that the old insta=
llation (10 + 10 + Great Abel) was massively heavy; and it remains the only=
carillon where over half the bells are hung for ringing and all therefore =
have to take account of those cast to ringing weights. It can be done.
Bradford TH (13, 87) are an impressive lot as must have been the old Roch=
dale chime destroyed by fire (15, 50). =
In the Midlands "Little John" and its qu=
arter bells knock everything into the shade; the Taylor "Big Joe" chime at =
Birmingham Uni is less impressive than it should be, probably because of th=
e height of the tower, but the Gillett & Co "Big Brum" set in the Art Galle=
ry, despite its date and the wooden inserts in the hammers will sound quite=
grand when they've sorted out the 3rd quarter timing. You would not think=
that Leicester (5, 21) bells were cast of the same metal or in the same co=
untry; they must rank as one of the most truly awful sets of bells anywhere=
, and they don't even switch off at night.
Going further south, Luton are in my view very, very good, and worth a vi=
sit. South of London, Reading TH's Gillett, Bland & Co chime of 9 I recall =
as particularly unpleasant; Portsmouth City Hall (not the Guildhall) which =
are Mears for Benson have an amazing history of survival and are none the w=
orse for that. There's an odd little set-up in Margate, where the Jubilee =
clock tower has a panny 3-cwt set of G&J Cambridge Quarters of 1908 (replac=
ing hemispherical bells), whilst the shopping centre just up the road has t=
wo sets of Mears for G&J bells cast a few years ago and supposedly synchron=
ized with each other (but not the Jubilee clock tower). Details on Dickon'=
s Kent site. All very odd.
Apart from that down south, the biggest Civic installation is I think Sou=
thampton, which are a Gillett 8 plus a 67-cwt hour bell.
Just a few random thoughts after reading Andrew's interesting posting and=
lists. Everyone else in Leicester is at the England match.

----- Original Message -----=20
From: Andrew Aspland=20
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com ; mike at m...=20
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 6:46 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Clock Chimes - information and requests for =

Hello everyone,

Arrived back from the central council - about to unlock my front door -=
a very nice set of Cambridge quarters sounded the hour. Had they taken =
the sound control out from Holy Trinity Ossett? No but the clock chime=
the town hall are restored to working order after a silence of well ove=
r ten
years. They were cast by Taylors in 1908 with a tenor of 8cwt in A (re=
are (going up the scale) B, E, F#, G#). Does anyone have accurate weigh=
and diameters?

They are not yet in the Chimes spreadsheet (at least not under Clock

Dewsbury, W Yorks, Town Hall, 5, 35cwt in D Pre-True-Harmonic Taylors
Batley, W Yorks, Library, 5, 30cwt Quarter Bells Taylors 1906
Huddersfield, W Yorks, Co-operative Society, 4, 9cwt in A Taylors 1904
Lindley, W Yorks, Clock Tower, 4, 16cwt in F Taylors 1902
Cleckheaton, W Yorks, Town Hall, 5, 21cwt Pre-True-Harmonic Taylors
Hartforth Hall, North Yorks, 5, 6cwt
Keighley Institute, W Yorks, 5, 25cwt Pre-True-Harmonic Taylors - ARE T=
Middlesborough, Cleveland, Town Hall 5, 47cwt Pre-True-Harmonic Taylors=
Thornaby, Cleveland, Town Hall, 5, 8cwt Taylors 1908 - ARE THESE STILL

Morley, West Yorks, Town Hall 5????
Dewsbury, West Yorks, Co-Op 5????

Is this Town Hall thing just a West Riding phenomenon? I suspect Lancas=
has a few - Manchester being the apotheosis.

Any details of the bells appreciated.

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