Lost Whitechapel octave

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at Z1MFHzGRlhT4Bs7gsNPJ_Vk-MCGXw9jiunfZlFicOMsIyz5NqJ5vbFaPcD-ihGZlztSVEl7KIrOGeSI.yahoo.invalid
Tue Apr 22 17:04:21 BST 2008

The historian's lot is a curious one (pun intended), as many of you 
will appreciate.  It's filled with surprises, moments of elation, and 
moments of disappointment - sometimes all clustered together.

This morning a Google Alert brought me the happy news that a fine 
4-octave Paccard carillon, out of action for several years, is being 
relocated and will sound again.  Unhappily, the accompanying photo 
showed only an electric action, though it's possible that the 
original mechanical action will be reinstalled also.  (An inquiry has 
been sent.)  Surprisingly, the news article mentioned that the 47 
bells which were installed in 1966 (by the late great Arthur Bigelow) 
had replaced a previous set of 8 bells.  In the North American 
carillon environment, those 8 bells had never been mentioned. 
Presumably they were a diatonic octave.  Certainly they were melted 
down in the course of making the carillon, and that fact allowed the 
Paccard bells to enter this country free of tariffs (being a 
"replacement" rather than something "new", I suppose).

Further Googling (wretched word!) uncovered the fact that the 8 bells 
had been installed in 1924, and that led to the discovery of a news 
article in the archives of the Christian Science Monitor.  Though I 
had to pay for access to the article, that was worthwhile, because it 
reported the dedication of the chime, as well as the origin of the 
bells.  The article concluded with this paragraph:

	"With the necessities of the Northfield scene in mind the 
firm of Messrs. Mears & Stainbank of Whitechapel, London, was chosen 
there to make the bells.  It is a firm which has specialized in the 
making of bells for over three centuries and the result is a happy 
one.  The tonal qualities of the bells  their arrangement and setting 
blend particularly well with the location, and the school authorities 
are convinced that an important development, the effect of which will 
be cumulative through the years, has been achieved through the 
generosity and thought of Mr. Revell."  [Fleming H. Revell, a New 
York publisher, was donor of the bells.]

By a curious coincidence, that article was published 84 years ago yesterday!

Since the dedication recital for the chime was played by a chimer 
from another college in Massachusetts, I presume that M&S supplied a 
baton keyboard.  Unfortunately, no technical details beyond the 
number "8" appear in any of the sources which I found  Can our 
Whitechapel correspondent provide any further information from the 
foundry records?


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