Gillett & Johnston 1907 to 1920s

Susan & Christopher Dalton at v...
Sat Jun 19 22:11:27 BST 2004

Just one more quick one on this subject.

G & J's earliest "Simpson" tuned bells (1907 onwards) were in my experience
of pretty normal shape (though the lighter bells in rings tended to be thin)
and with pretty normal minor-third tierces.

Later - about 1911 I think - we start getting tall bells and sharper
tierces, especially at the heavy end of heavier rings. Wimborne,
Wolverhampton, Hillingdon and Croydon St Peter immediately come to mind.
The bells cast for Clapham Park (in 1919 from memory) and now at
Spitalfields come into this "intermediate" category. I don't regard this as
experimental: just a matter of policy.

But sometime about 1920-22 (anybody got an exact date?) there was a change
back to "normal" shape, accompanied by an improvement in moulding quality
and a change from sanserif lettering to the elegant lettering which G & J
then used from the 1920s right through until Cyril Johnston left the firm.
The former ring at Bowdon was in this category, as are the existing rings at
Petworth, Alton (Hants.), Ickleton, Clerkenwell and of course Coventry
Cathedral. The casting quality throughout this period is in my experience
superb and the tuning incredibly accurate, especially bearing in mind what
Andrew Higson said about G & J's forks.

(E & O E)


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