Old frames

CHRIS PICKFORD c.j.pickford.t21 at b...
Sun Dec 19 02:03:24 GMT 2004

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Two salutary "preservation tales" from Warwickshire - preservation ex situ =
is tricky

At Offchurch, the old frame was going to be recorded by an architect living=
in the village before the bells were restored. He had expressed concern at=
the loss of the frame and agreed to record it. It was also decided that th=
e frame would be reassembled in the grounds of the Diocesan Retreat house n=
earby. In the end, no record of the frame was ever made. The timbers were r=
emoved to the Retreat house, but left in a pile and never reassembled. When=
I saw the timbers some 10 years later, they were well beyond recovery. If =
the timber had been sold at the time to a carpenter for reuse, the restorat=
ion fund would have benefited - and a substantial quantity of good seasoned=
oak would have been recycled and put to use rather than left to rot

At Walsgrave, the old frame was reassembled in the churchyard (there's a pi=
cture in my Bellframes book) but it wasn't under cover and wouldn't have la=
sted long. But this attempt at "preservation" ended, I believe, when the lo=
cal police asked for it to be removed because local kids were using it as a=
"den" and causing disturbance in the neighbourhood

On the way to Warwick today for a peal, I happened to notice a van belongin=
g to Flack and Chapman - any relation of Whitechapel's "great traffickers b=
ut no artists" (pace William Ludlam) of the C18th?

Have just discovered the website www.oldbaileyonline.org with extracts from=
the trial proceedings at the Old Bailey. Not much on bells, but there are =
two references to theft of goods from Thomas Mears at Whitechapel. In 1815,=
James Lamb (59) an employee at the foundry was caught "red handed" by the =
foundry clerk, William Chamberlain, and found guilt of stealing 1.5 lbs of =
brass from his master. In 1805, John Russell (83), was sentenced to 12 mont=
hs in the House of Correction and fined 1st for stealing three metal bells =
(value 5s) belonging to Thomas Mears. John Whitby, who cast the bells, gave=
evidence. Interesting, if only to add a few names to the list of former fo=
undry staff

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