Librarian’s Report 2011

The main activity of the year has been to enter the collection of peal board transcripts into a database, a process which is nearing completion. At the suggestion of Jill Wigney I have used WinRK, which although intended for personal peal records, is perfectly adequate for my main purpose of recording the names of the ringers. It has been an intriguing exercise involving checking The Ringing World Index, ASCY membership lists, Middlesex annual reports and even to expand initials and distinguish between ringers with similar names. As the system demands details of tenors, it has also needed some historical research to complete records for peals on bells which no longer exist, or have been recast. Two separate databases have been created, covering the periods before and after the war-time ban on ringing. Current overall statistics stand at about 400 peals and 1700 ringers. In due course I shall contact tower correspondents in order to check existing records and add new ones.

Having needed to replace my aged printer, I have taken the opportunity of using my new machine to scan the minute book of the North and East District covering the years 1979 to 1989. The resulting annual files are in PDF format. I hope that we may further pursue the digitization of Association records.

The most substantial purchase of the year was The Church Bells of Somerset, edited by David Bromwich from the papers of the late George Massey, assembled over a 40 year period. Published by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, it is a magnificent A4 hardback of 800 pages. The phrase “a hard act to follow” comes to mind.

We also purchased: Order and disorder in the eighteenth century: newspaper extracts about church bells and bellringing (2010 and supplement 2011); Giants of the Exercise(1999) and Giants of the Exercise II (2006), John Eisel’s collection of biographies of notable ringers of the past; The Trollope Manuscript on CD, an unpublished work of over 7,000 pages relating to the bells and ringers of the London area. We are promised a copy of a newly formatted edition on its appearance, free of charge; and The New Ringer’s Book (2009) which, although intended to be bought and studied by individual ringers, complements a fairly full collection of Central Council publications.

The trial purchase of three tailor-made “do-it-yourself” binders for our set of the Ringing World proved a disappointment, as using them entails punching the usual A4 ring-binder holes,

thereby obliterating small amounts of text.

Paul Norman