[Bell Historians] Daily Telegraph letter

Carl Scott Zimmerman csz_stl at XCYE_sxoeQw-qLZI68LO-erTRan4F9Vlh7SIOm_bMfBap_I6p6ajQjzSBnH4DmPgFW3933oZfRtW8Tg9.yahoo.invalid
Thu Oct 22 16:17:40 BST 2009

The following was dispatched to the Telegraph just now (and before 
reading the reactions which others of you have posted to this list):


In discussing the preservation of historic bell frames, Mr. Venning 
(Letters, October 22) draws an interesting analogy to historic motor 
cars, but fails to carry that analogy far enough.  Viewed from afar, 
it appears that SPAB, English Heritage, and perhaps other such 
organizations in the UK are in effect insisting that historic motor 
cars must be kept in the street where they were when their engines 
failed, rather than moving them to museums where they could properly 
be appreciated.  It is as if the location of the car was more 
important to them than its effect upon present-day vehicle traffic.

Unlike scenic landscapes or historic gardens, it is not location 
which makes car engines or bell frames into historical artifacts. 
Rather it is the workmanship and materials with which they were 
designed and built.

There have been several well-reported cases in which English bell 
ringers with a decent respect for industrial heritage have proposed 
practical schemes for removing worn-out but interesting bell frames 
from towers and putting them on display where their design and 
workmanship could be easily viewed.  These intelligent schemes, which 
could have resulted in informing the public of hitherto unseen 
aspects of their built heritage, have instead been frustrated by 
so-called heritage groups, which apparently would prefer to leave 
these interesting artifacts to rot in situ, unused and un-curated.

Bells are made to be heard.  If they cannot be heard because of the 
intransigence of so-called heritage organizations, then England loses 
more of its heritage.

Carl Scott Zimmerman
Campanologist and carillonist
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA


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