[Bell Historians] Great Malvern

David Bryant davidbryant at dcm2a-VGNLCKvw14cTKBSW88fmUI7QJHLWPdSYABSUundKKtIKxIceQNjljOPsqLaKuZUxbFLgHGhnHSr2YStG8Txg.yahoo.invalid
Mon Mar 9 22:14:46 GMT 2009

"Nowhere do I see a proper case made for keeping the frame."

Quite. Some of the supposed justification is completely ludicrous, e.g:

"It is however of historic interest ... locally for its place in the 
evolution of the fittings of the medieval church building and of 
bell-ringing activity at the Priory"

What complete nonsense! If this were a valid justification it could be used 
as a reason for keeping absolutely anything - and the danger is that this is 
exactly what will happen if it's accepted as valid in this case.

Things are only likely to get worse, and part of the problem is that there 
is no recognized group of bell historians to act as an opposition party, and 
the way the CofE carries on doesn't help situations like this. Granted, the 
CCC didn't agree with EH on this occasion, but neither, it seems, did they 
actively fight it - which they should have. The CCC has a policy on 
conservation which strikes a good balance between the needs of ringers and 
the requirements of conservationists, and it is in nobody's interest if EH 
is allowed to go to ridiculous lengths without challenge

And here we come back to the problem of the CCC Bells committee. Any chance 
of it becoming democratic and people being appointed on merit with a clear 
and transparent appointments procedure? Or is it just going to continue to 
operate on the basis of the CCC appointing whoever they decide? At the last 
round of appointments, I had never heard of the three people appointed, they 
had (so far as I know) no background in Bell history, they are not members 
of this list, none of them (so far as I know) came to the conference at 
Worcester Cathedral and I have heard nothing about them since. Are they 
doing a good job? I've no idea given that they are not part of the general 
bell historian community. It was interesting that when I asked about the 
appointments procedure at the Worcester conference, the CCC representative 
didn't really answer the question.

If things are to improve I think we really need a recognized society of bell 
historians which is accepted as an expert witness in cases like this, or 
alternatively a new (and transparent) setup at the CCC (which needs to be 
accepted by EH as the principal expert body), but the chances of the latter 
happening don't seem very high. Ideally someone, or better still a group, 
would take the CofE on over the issue and at one time I might have had a 
go - but not now. After a long-running dispute with the Diocese of York over 
something else, I have nothing but contempt for the CofE and it has become 
very clear that they don't consider that any of their actions should be 
subject to scrutiny or question - it's still very much a Victorian 
organization which thinks that people should just accept that the CofE is 
always right, and always in the right. It's an attitude which doesn't bode 
well for any attempts to reform the way it does things.

I wonder whether it's worth members of this list emailing EH and the Diocese 
of Worcester to express views on the matter? As bell historians, we might be 
expected by the uninvolved to side with EH, but rather suspect that nearly 
all members of this list will think that the decision made is the wrong one.



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