[Bell Historians] Gillet & Johnston archives.

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Thu Apr 29 22:48:11 BST 2004

So far as the closure of G&J is concerned, there have been articles by ADH and myself in the Ringing World in the last 12 months. Suffice it to say that after CFJ's departure in 1948, the firm capitalized on its non-bell operations, not least under the name of "Bourdon Tools Ltd". The old foundry buildings were unsuitable for this and the the MD in 1955 (Andrew Craig) wrote to Taylors asking them to cast bells in the interim whilst they built a new foundry. It never happened, as the RW articles explain, and the 3 dozen or so bells cast by JT&Co are described in the articles. In 1957 the firm went into receivership, the bell founding comany being purchased and wound up by Cope Allman International, who also absorbed Bourdon Tools. The clockmaking side was transferred to Wembley and purchased back by the Coombes family who continue to operate it successfully from their present Croydon premises. The old bell foundry was demolished in 1998. I ascended the tower a year or two before and saw a very nice turret clock which showed the time on four vast and dissimilar dials. Also in the tower were the girders on which the foundry was wont to hang stock carillons and chimes from time to time, before selling them on. One of these dials, and the clock mechanism, have recently been installed at a local school.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: jim phillips 
To: bell historians 
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 11:00 AM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Gillet & Johnston archives.

DrL wrote:-

>Doubting Thomas (AJP):
> How do we know these figures are correct? Were they independently

>Come on Jim - what do you think? Seriously, we can only go on the info
>supplied with the source stated. Then you just takes your choice!

If the tuning figures for the old bells as given by Croydon were correct (RO
described them as 'bog standard') then why did honest men of the calibre of
A A Hughes and E Alexander Young so vigorously oppose the recasting of these
particular bells in a well publicised court case? The late F E Darby, a
former employee of Croydon had some interesting things to say and perhaps
his experiences at Croydon was recorded in Mike Moreton's interview with
Frank. Does anyone know why the Croydon Foundry ceased trading as a bell
foundry? Is Michael Howard, the last director, still alive? I know the
clock making and renovation side of G&J is still going strong as they have
renovated the clock at Seasalter and put back the iv on the dial instead of
the 1111 which will please DLC.

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