[Bell Historians] Yesterday's CCC conference

David Bryant david at b...
Wed Nov 5 11:44:12 GMT 2003

> One thing that this shows is that a National Bell Register is desperately
> needed, and ways of organising (& funding) this need to be explored. The
> CCCBR have made it clear they don't want to be involved in it, it needs
> group to own it, hopefully the CCC will look into possibilities.

Doesn't this highlight one glaring problem with bell history? Namely that,
unlike clocks, monumental brasses, or other church fitments, there is no
formal society dedicated to their study. In many ways this isn't a problem,
but if we were a formal society rather than a loosely organised group of
individuals sharing a common interest then perhaps we would have more clout
when it came to deciding conservation policies. As a bell historian with a
degree in archaeology, I obviously think conservation is a good idea, but
within sensible limits. If it means that a ring of bells will end up in an
unringaable state, or badly out of tune, then, in my view, the
conservationist lobby has failed.

I know we've discussed the matter before, but what do people feel about
forming a society of bell historians. I'm probably in as good a position as
anyone to start the groundwork, for example by contacting other societies
such as the AHS and seeking their experiences as regards forming and
maintaining a society. I think the study of bells has suffered from the fact
that, unlike clocks and monuments, it has a body attached to it (ringers)
who by and large don't care about bells. Yes, I know that most bell
historians are ringers, but they are a minority in the exercise. In the view
of probably the majority of ringers, if the bell goes round and it goes bong
then that's fine!

What do people think?


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