[Bell Historians] W W Starmer

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford.t21 at HeORate1x85PFSllIH029N58JpYP1LuYftMOPAzGqTTshQYz7F0tYROw52U4vLUQC9uk1fFhgfSzxIHQ5ufH9bcvqh7Y4eM.yahoo.invalid
Tue Dec 4 18:30:45 GMT 2012

Excellent posting by DLC (especially when added to his previous 
contribution which I have copied below) - thanks. I've done just a 
little bit of delving myself, and here are my "raw notes".

According to an article in the /Bournville Works Magazine/ [presumably 
1906] Starmer described the carillon at Bournville Schools as “the 
finest set of bells in the country being, if not the heaviest, the most 
perfect as regards their excellence of tone and their musical qualities 
generally” (/Ex.Inf. /Ray Aldington, April 2004)

Comment on the Coventry controversy, the chimes and the involvement of 
William Wooding Starmer in the 1920s (Jennings Chime Barrel Mechanisms p.13)

Death registered at Tonbridge, Oct-Dec quarter 1927, aged 60; Probate 
calendar, 1928 – William Wooding Starmer of Lion Hotel, East Grinstead, 
died 27 October 1927 at the Tweedale Nursing Home, Tunbridge Wells. 
Probate London 9 January 1928 to Florence Emily Frances Starmer, widow. 
Effects £2438.17s.

Extract from paper written by Cyril Johnston in 1948. He said, “My firm 
had installed some clock bells...at a famous school at Elstree and the 
owners complained of the tone, whereupon Dr. William Wooding 
Starmer...was called in and recommended that the bells should be sent to 
a competitor firm to be recast. In my youthful enthusiasm, this seemed 
to be a bit hard and I persuaded my father to allow me to experiment and 
at the same time to stop production of bells which were in progress at 
the Foundry. It so happened that I was very fortunate and hit upon the 
principal cause of trouble within a matter of weeks and also how to 
correct these faults, so that the bells might comply with the late Canon 
Simpson's theory...” The “competitor firm” was obviously Taylor's, given 
Starmer's close association with them. (/per/ Jill Johnston, May 2002)

Obituary of William Wooding Starmer, Tunbridge Wells, in /Ringing World/ 
1927 pp.696-7

Taylor job book (Vol.140 p.379) – copies of estimates for bells obtained 
by Starmer (of 6 Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells) from Mears & Stainbank 
12 May 1903, Warner 19 May 1903 (signed by W.P. Stevenson), Gillett & 
Johnston 9 May 1903, Llewellins & James 9 May 1903, Barwell (“we have a 
representative resident near London and with an office at 274 Finsbury 
Pavement House EC who is at Tunbridge Wells occasionally…” 9 May 1903

Taylor records for St.Thomas, Longford, Warwicks – job book (Vol.140 
p.233), completed 5 May 1904. Old bells – the fifth (Barwell 1892) 
19¾”1-2-13 with pencil note alongside details of old bells "5th used for 
Starmer's lectures".

The “Cambridge RC” clock chime is at the Catholic Church of Our Lady and 
the English Martyrs (OLEM), Cambridge, UK. There was a /Ringing World/ 
front page article on the restoration of this heavy 1895 Taylor 8 a 
couple of years back and the unusual chime tune was mentioned. According 
to William Wooding Starmer’s “Quarter Chimes and Chime Tunes” (my thanks 
to Chris McKay for this information) the tune was arranged by Rev Canon 
Scott and is based on the plainsong antiphon commonly known as the 
'Easter Alleluia', sung in Catholic Churches on Easter Saturday. In 1908 
the tune was copied for the clock chime at Dunblane Cathedral, where it 
is known as the “Alleluia Quarters”. This was not the first time that a 
chime tune from Cambridge had been copied to good effect!. The tune is 
actually a 6 bell chime. In the same format as used on the BHI website, 
Starmer gives the tune (in G) as follows: 1st quarter 1,3,4,5,3,4,3. 2nd 
quarter 1,3,4,5,3,4,3, 4,5,4,3,2,1. 3rd quarter 1,3,4,5,3,4,3, 
4,5,4,3,2,1, 1,3,4,5,3,4,3. 4th quarter 1,3,4,5,3,4,3, 4,5,4,3,2,1, 
1,3,4,5,3,4,3, 6,4,5,3,4,3. Notes: 1=D 2=E 3=G 4=A 5=B 6=C. At Dunblane 
the tune is played in Bb, thus avoiding the need for an additional 
clock-bell. As a chime tune it is universally admired. (/Ex.inf. /Chris 
Frye, Bell Historians 2009)

William Gorham Rice Carillons of Belgium and Holland (1914) mentions 
p.207 (in list of carillons in other countries) “Bournville, 
Worcestershire; 22 bells, recently erected under the supervision of Mr. 
W.W. Starmer. Bournville is the model village founded by George Cadbury, 
just outside Birmingham

William Wooding Starmer was an important figure in the development of 
chime and carillon bells and equipment. He was certainly on friendly 
terms with J. W. Taylor Jnr, Pryce and E. D. T. He was referred to in my 
article on Great George of Bristol in the RW a few years ago, being the 
"independent referee" appointed by the University but suggested by JT & 
Co to approve the Great Bell. I have read a lot of his personal 
correspondence with the Taylors and hope in time to produce an article, 
probably for the BCS as it will be of little interest to ringers (I 
think!) / At the Coventry enquiry, (where he was descibed in the RW as 
'Professor' of Campanology at Birmingham University, he is reported to 
have said that "He was, as a boy, a ringer, but had never rung a peal, 
he was glad to say. He could not agree that ringers were good judges of 
bell tones; they thought more of the 'go' of a bell" (Coventry Bells and 
how they were Lost p. 36). He was proved accurate by Canon Coleridge 
(then President CCCBR) who said "It is the practical side of ringing 
which I enjoy ....... (a bell) that has got a wheel on it". "Professor 
Starmer" declared the Ringing World of 15th January 1926 was one of "two 
witnesses upon whom the petitioners relied to carry through their 
scheme, and, to be candid, we do not think the opposition were fully 
prepared to meet their evidence." If that is so, we have Starmer to 
thank then for the glorious ring which is so prized at Coventry. I 
rather think that Starmer might be horrified! / Still, he was not 
totally averse to ringing bells: he advised on the 1919 ring of eight at 
St Peter's, Tunbridge Wells, where he was organist; and on the twin 
chime (cast to ringing weights) at St Luke's, Tunbridge Wells. Both were 
cast by G&J, so it was not a question of "all Taylor". And in both 
cases, his name is there on the largest bell. / Price (The Carillon) 
p.56 says that Starmer was "an organist rather than a carilloneur, yet 
he took up the work where Simpson laid it down and marerially aided 
English bell-founders and their patrons by advising those specifications 
which would make their instruments not merely the equal of those of 
olden times, but a distinct improvement upon them. Studying past 
examples, he sought to improve their defects by lightening the touch, 
standardizing the dimensions of the keyboard, disposing the bells so 
that all could be heard equally well outside, and arranging the playing 
cabin so that the carilloneur could hear his effects properly". Praise 
indeed, but I wonder if JT&Co or G&J would have yielded the palm so 
readily; or for that matter Jef Denyn whose influence even to-day cannot 
be under-estimated. / W. W. Starmer was indeed for a while a part-time 
Lecturer in Campanology in the Department of Music at Birmingham 
University. I have never found any claim on his part to be a Professor, 
or Reader, and posters of his lectures (sometimes used as notepaper by 
him) describe him as "Lecturer in Campanology, Department of Music". / 
He died in 1928 and is buried in Tunbridge Wells (DLC to “Bell 
Historians” 2004)

William Wooding Starmer, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, London, 
was a referee for a bell (31-0-21 in C) cast by O’Byrne of Dublin for 
Newport Church. Testimonal (jointly with Robert O’Dwyer, Professor of 
Irish Music, National University, Dublin) dated 13 March 1917 (O’Byrne 
catalogue, 1962, p.100)

Hope these oddments may be of use and interest

Chris Pickford
E-mail: c.j.pickford at QHGXx-leorVNJ5gXreD-2j717_EcN8tObDYZZjVqAvT6Q0zIAnJ5nq8eKzgBc6nWqej9FtuFQWru904IAA.yahoo.invalid or (interchangeably) 
c.j.pickford.t21 at c1e1brFylgcWqmrHvi-lDjFZ5L_fGNwNQFezuecc9nB6LuYyTc_oal8OXqK7HEvtY79wJLOAzoFg0Ul7IxG4Rjh6PZb8.yahoo.invalid
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