[Bell Historians] Carrs of Smethwick

'Chris Pickford' c.j.pickford.t21@btinternet.com [bellhistorians] bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Fri Jan 10 14:20:43 GMT 2020

It's a complicated story, but the firm continued with some involvement in
bells and bellhanging well into the 1950s - but by then (and from the later
1920s really) it was only a small sideline to a business dealing mainly with
other metalwork. The firm finally closed down in 1963/4 and the site was
sold for redevelopment.


As a simple answer to Mike's main query, Bill Butler says in his accou8nt of
the firm (in Musical Handbells pp.96-102):

Their advertisements for church bells and bell hanging continued weekly in
The Bell News till the final issue of that paper on Christmas Day 1915, and
in copies of The Ringing World from the first in 1911 to the 999th in May
1930. After this date they ceased to take an interest in bells, although the
firm was still advertising in trade journals up to 1960.


The bellfounding side was really the speciality of J.J.W. Carr who was in
charge from the time of Charles Carr's death in 1891 until his own demise in
1924. After that the firm cast very few bells, although J.J.W. Carr had
supervised the casting of a 35 cwt bell for Demerara only shortly before his
death. The sale of his 1891 theatre bells - a maiden peal of six of which he
was especially proud! - to Pensnett and the addition of two ill-tuned
trebles there in 1926 really marked the end.


I know of no dated bells after 1926 (Pensnett and Small Heath / Sheldon as
Mike says), but they supplied a blank bell to Norton (Stourbridge) in 1929.


Taylors provided some bells for Carr's (and its subsidiary the Non-ferreous
casting company) in the late 1930s, but the orders always stated "please do
not cast your name on this bell" and Taylors were never told where the bells
were to be hung. Tyseley is one example, 1939


But they continued with Bellhanging, doing work (mostly minor) at Aston
Cantlow (1932), Aymestrey (1938), Wolverley (19148) and Cookley (1949) - and
they tendered for St.Chad's, Birmingham, in 1939. A letter to Taylors
regarding Ipsley bells in 1957 came from V.H. Horsley who was church
treasurer and also a director of Carr's. By then the Smethwick firm, still
proud of its bell work, had more or less given up any interest in future


There's a lot of work behind this hasty summary. One day, I might find time
to write it all up!


Chris Pickford

E-mail pickford5040 at gmail.com 

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