Monday, 12 October 2009
A Sad Story
I seem to be writing a lot on the subject of bells at the moment, but this story struck me as being a sad example of what we are coming to in this country. Taylors of Loughborough, the bell-foundry whose history goes back to the 14th century, and which made Great Paul, the bell which hangs in St. Paul's (see Saturday's post), has been run by the Taylor family since 1784. The company is now in administration. And why? They have fallen foul of the dreaded Health & Safety Executive, which demanded that they spend £70,000 on re-roofing their tuning hall. This was enough to ruin the company and put 13 of their 28 staff out of work. One of them has been there for 17 years and was taught by his father how to tune a bell when he was seven years old. He can tune a bell to a hundredth of a semi-tone. Apart from the human cost here, it would be disastrous for bell-founding in this country if Taylors goes under. There are few bell-founders left to carry on this living tradition. Change ringing is a very English practice and the sound of bells ringing out over the countryside proclaims the glory of God and the celebration of human achievement. When our bells fall silent, we shall know that the EU, from which Health & Safety get their directives, has succeeded in putting yet another nail in England's coffin.