New poll

CHRIS PICKFORD c.j.pickford.t21 at b...
Thu Sep 2 14:51:43 BST 2004

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The issue that David is highlighting is not so much one of accuracy - thoug=
h I agree entirely that "Dove" will be of diminished value if demonstrably =
inaccurate data is included - as one of editorial responsibility. Ron Dove=
made no pretence of consultation. In his inimitable manner, he made the de=
cisions based on the best evidence available to him - and took responsibili=
ty (and I suspect enjoyed the scuffle!) if people objected. This is what t=
he present compilers seem so very reluctant to do.

Over time, I have become very clear on one thing - there is no such thing (=
in reality) as an EXACT weight for a bell. There are RECORDED weights and E=
STIMATED weights.=20=20

Where a recorded weight is quoted, it should be the latest weighing. Ideal=
ly, estimated weights should be determined using a consistent formula - and=
expressed as approximations (i.e. nearest quarter cwt). There will be occa=
sions when recorded weights have to revert to estimates (e.g. removal of ca=
nons after weighing).

Surely this provides a more robust basis for evaluation than any form of co=
nsultation with locals or others? If this way of looking at weights is acce=
pted at a philosophical level, then Ron Johnson's concern that "all knowled=
ge is provisional" is of less importance - and it becomes easier for the co=
mpilers to arbitrate, since the determining criterion is "evidence" (rather=
than "accuracy"). I'm not sure Ron Dove would have put it quite like this=
, but I'm pretty sure that this IS how he did it.

Is this, Andrew W, something like a pragmatic way of working for the future=
? Evidence-based entries, and editorial responsibility based on the reliab=
ility of evidence?

Barry Pickup is right about Frome - though it's interesting that the bell h=
as since been weighed in the tower and found to be very close to 27-2-22. =
But it wasn't the date Ron Dove visited, it was when the redoubtable James =
H. Shepherd of Swindon - the great tower grabber and tenor measurer! - went=
to Frome. A lot of Dove's earlier estimated weights came from JHS's notebo=
oks. Now, of course, so many more bells have been weighed in the course of =
subsequent restoration. But we mustn't undervalue that initial work by JHS =
and RHD that led to the first edition of "Dove" and still underpins the wor=

Ron, incidentally, had a long-standing feud with the late William A. Stote =
of Coventry - a rather prickly and dogmatic character who used to submit "c=
orrections" based on "I've rung it, and it goes like 17cwt and not 13-1-11"=
. I do share David B's concerns that deference to local opinion - and I thi=
nk it's stretching it to claim that this equates to keeping customers sweet=
- will only take us back down this route

C.J.P. Anorak
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