CCC Forum.

matthewhigby at a... matthewhigby at a...
Wed Nov 5 10:45:29 GMT 2003

I agree with Mark's comments - I too came away disappointed, in fact somewhat 
dazed and confused!

Some thoughts about the speakers were as follows:

Morning Chairman - Very Revd Graeme Knowles, Chairman of the CCC.
Nice guy - spoke well and kept all in order. Kept out of things which he 
obviously had no knowledge of.

Alan Strickland - Grant Secretary to the Sharp Trust. Spoke about why 
conservation of bells and bellframes is important and also what effect amateur 
repairs carried out locally can have on conservation. A nice speech - not really 
sure where he was heading though.

Helene La Rue - Among other things, curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum which 
contains among other things the collections of George Elphick, Fred Sharp & 
Ranald Clouston.
Obviously a very interesting lady - but she spoke more about string & wind 
instruments than about "Is change ringing the only way to make bell music".She 
spoke well though but Mark's concord flew over me too!

Alan Hughes - spoke very well (as usual) about the difference between tone 
and tune, pitching and presenting results, CPS v Cents, establishing weights of 
bells from their sizes and tonal analysis and the CCC code of practice. A very 
well presented speech.

Nigel Taylor - spoke about key notes, std pitch, temperament and the effect 
of partial tones. He also explained about how they plan tuning a ring. Well 
explained I thought - but I am sure concord flew over most people listening.

Mark Strupczewski (Soundweld) - gave a very interesting talk with Power point 
presentation regarding the work of soundweld. Very interesting - well done to 
Mark and Sam (Mark's first public speech!!!)

The discussion was interesting - I was astonished by the question from one 
individual in a powerful position - regarding cps/cents and should there bea 
trade standard - from someone who claims to know about so much???

Lunch wasn't up to much - no beer either.

After lunch - the Chair had changed - to a lady who didn't seem to introduce 
herself - Sonia was it - I thought she annoying and felt she had to contribute 
to every debate.

Worshipful June Rogers, Chancellor of the Gloucester Diocese. I must admit I 
enjoyed this speech the most - if only all Chancellors were as switched on as 
her. Some very good points made on the role of a diocesan bell advisor.

Andrew Argyrakis - CCC Conservation officer. Gave a lecture about how things 
should be done regarding submitting applications to the CCC. Also told us what 
should be included in reports. This made me wonder who is going to produce 
these wonderful all singing all dancing reports with colour photographs, 
drawings and explanations - for every single application. Bellhangers reports these 
days often include colour photographs together with drawings - but on a minimal 
basis - due to the fact that they are normally produced free of charge. A 
full presentation on our old bellframe at Chilcompton by John Eisel cost usover 
£700. Is this going to be essential for every project?
This was the speaker who claimed that ringers were the only people interested 
in what bells sound like as opposed ot the general public.

Mary Bliss - An introduction to the lists. Mary with the aid of another PP 
presentation explained the history of the lists - currently being updated. New 
ideas about what should be listed were mentioned which as Alan Hughes pointed 
out, would seem to cover about 80% of the bells in the UK. I agree with what 
Mark Regan has already said on this.

The discussion which followed saw Andrew Argyrakis shot down from the floor 
regarding his comment about ringers being the only people interested in what 
bells sound like (he seemed to enjoy this).
Some very good points were made by M J de C Henshaw and Kate Flavell 
regarding the sound which bells make, and the public's reaction to this - also how 
some bells can be "unringable" to an inexperienced band but "ringable" to amore 
advanced team - what matters it the quality of ringing produced, the state of 
bells, fittings and bellframes often having a large implication on this.

On my return home, Charlotte asked if I had learned anything from going to 
the forum - well I had to say that I am not really sure. I felt that some 
speakers were just telling us from on high, what we are going to do regarding 
conservation and bell restoration.

I have had the feeling ever since I entered the trade that the CCC and 
English heritage regard all members of the trade as enemies who are only interested 
in destroying our heritage - which is just not the case. In general - I am 
sure that most bellhangers/founders are conservationists but also realists - I am 
for sure, and wish that we could work together more effectively to produce 
better results.

I remember Brian White saying to me several years ago - that when he started 
bellhanging, it was a joy to go to work - now he just gets buried under piles 
of paperwork on a daily basis.

When is this going to stop getting worse??


Matthew Higby & Co Ltd,
Church Bell Engineers.
Jasmine Cottage,
The Street,
BA3 4HN.
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