[nabbers] Re: National Bell Register

David Bryant david at b...
Wed Dec 8 16:08:03 GMT 2004

A cross posting from the Nabbers list as it is likely to be of interest to both lists:

> I don't think a National Bell Register could or should be compiled by one
> person. Committees have their disadvantages, but they can smooth out the
> process.
> Perhaps this is something that could be done on a county/diocesan basis,
> though I realise that this might lead to a rather patchy coverage initially.

Crucially though, you need people with the necessary expertise (and there are relatively few of those - and most of them are on one of these two lists!). The majority of ringers wouldn't be able to help - if such a survey is to be of any value, it has to be accurate. Just look at the average church guide book and many RW articles to see what twaddle gets written sometimes. If such a survey was to be carried out successfully in a reasonable time scale, those doing the surveying would need to be paid to work at it full-time. Doing it at evening and weekends would take for ever! I know that much information is already recorded, but when it comes to it most early bell books are out-of-date and do not contain sufficient information, and even some mroe recent ones include little in the way of descriptions of tuning marks, type of canons, fittings, and other details which it would probably be wise to include if the survey was to have any long-term value.

> Sponsorship could come from a variety of sources. My suggestions would
> include insurance companies; the RW; Associations and Guilds; companies
> associated with the trade. 

I should imagine that the trade, the RW and the majoruty of guilds and associations would simply not have the financial resources to support such a project. I would have thought funding would need to come directly from the church of England, from English Heritage, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and other such bodies with access to large amounts of cash. A national bell database would be very expensive.

> Maybe the owners or guardians of the bells could
> make a contribution towards their own entry.

Why should they want to? And in any case, most churches probably couldn't afford to.

> Once the initial entries are made, would the upkeep be so very great? Are
> bells and their frames subject to as many alterations as pipe organs can be?

Bells are probably subject to as many alterations as pipe organs. The best way to keep a database up-to-date would be to ensure that faculties involving bells were copied to whoever maintained the database.

> Can restoration projects be asked to inform the register of any changes?

No. Possibly they could be asked to inform that there had been changes, but it would really need a fresh inspection by an expert, unless the contractors could provide the necessary information.

> Could this be done with the aid of the DAC's and their advisors?

It would have to be done in conjunction with DACs or it would not be possible to keep it up-to-date. However, not all bells advisers would have the historical knowledge or the interest to be involved with the compilation of a database, possibly.

> As for
> payment, the NPOR, which is far from complete, currently has free access, so
> why shouldn't a National Bell Register have the same? 

No reason at all. But somebody's got to pay for it! For this reason, I think it's pie-in-the-sky at the moment. No body with sufficient financial resources to get such a project off the ground seems interested. THe CCCBR is not the right body to be doing it, as the majority of ringers have little knowledge of or interest in bells.



Whatever you Wanadoo:

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