CHRIS PICKFORD c.j.pickford.t21 at b...
Tue May 25 17:43:11 BST 2004

Just to confirm that Old Bradwell is a Bowell job (not Barwell)

On Smarden - I never managed to ring there during my five years in Kent - I'd be very surprised if they are anything really like true-harmonic, even if they are "good of their kind". The Bowell archives include a nice photograph of Smarden tenor on the tuning machine (made by Alfred Bowell in 1913) in 1922. By their own admission, however, neither Alfred nor Fred (who did the tuning latterly) Bowell really understood true-harmonic tuning - or rather, never managed to achieve it even if they understood the principles. The papers include a section of the undated (c.1919) Taylor clock bell at Polstead. This is marked "Sketch of section of 24" bell showing tuning positions to give the correct partial tones C, E flat, G and C etc". Clearly Bowell looked at and measured this bell in order to try and work out how to replicate the Taylor sound.

Alfred Bowell's bells are invariably neat castings, and I'm quite a fan of his hanging - both for "go" (he had great skill in aligning his plain bearings with great accuracy), but also for his clappering (the fittings may look odd, but they work very well). Moreover, Bowell built up a healthy little business from very small beginnings - and was largely self-taught. But admiration stops short of thinking very much of Bowell's tuning

Chris P

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