[Bell Historians] Gillett & Bland

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford.t21 at Fuc0523gOIPwgev7sotXwpzqFGgLMdSNDzromxWcYeG-DxROggidXUQsuj1cAIrIMKoZIpqtB8LMwFz4ixOpLh37R6is.yahoo.invalid
Wed Nov 22 00:35:08 GMT 2006

The best accounts of G&J are in George Elphick's "Sussex" and Bill Butler's "Musical Handbells", and I generally regard the dates there as being 'best available' for the official changes in company name. At some point, I ought to check company registration and business directory sources for this firm as I now have for a number of others.

The listing I sent yesterday is based entirely on signatures found in inscriptions - and it shows a problem (i.e. match against official dates) rather than offering a definitive guide. There is, of course, the possibility of innacuracy of recording (people not being quite careful enough in noting whether a bell says G&B or G&B & Co etc) - although I tried not to include bells where details seemed vague or suspect. What made me start down this route of exploration was the fact that clock frames, in particular, are unreliable - as the dates for the occurrence of different company names seem to be even more wild than those found on bells. What I would say here, though, is that there are many examples of bells of this period not in my sample list because the only available information is an attribution to a founder - not the actual inscription (i.e. writers have thought "Gillett = boring = no need to record in full" or have merely taken details from tower notices). Recording full inscriptions really is quite important in establishing dates and names with accuracy.

1877 may be a starting date, but I haven't found any proper record (i.e. recording inscriptions) of bells of this year - the first year the firm cast bells themselves. 

Re G&J, John Baldwin has just checked Stockleigh English with John Scott and the two bells there are "signed" by G&J in 1890 - so that takes the occurrence of G&J as a signature back to 1890. As I recall from a trawl of the records, output from the foundry was quite low in the period around 1890 - after an initial explosion of activity in the 1880s - and examples are quite thin on the ground. It would be good to know of more inscriptions from bells of this period in order to pinpoint the change more closely. At the moment, the sample is too small for reliable interpretation

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