The Education Committee of the Winchester and Portsmouth D. G. has for several years organised Courses on basic change-ringing, but on 4th April offered, for the first time, a new Course on the maintenance of bells and fittings. Sixteen members from all parts of the Guild area attended which was held at Cathedral House, Portsmouth.
The original plan was that Mr. F. E. (Ted) Collins (Ringwood) should give the morning lecture and pass on to the students some of his considerable knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, he was taken ill in the week before the Course and was unable to take part. During the morning a "Get Well" card was signed by everyone and sent to Mr. Collins wishing him a speedy recovery.
The Committee were extremely fortunate to find an admirable replacement at short notice: William Palmer (Portsmouth Cathedral) agreed on the evening before to give the lecture. His talk, which took up the morning session, covered all aspects of bells, their frames and fittings and the important points in maintaining them in good condition. Mr. Palmer is an aircraft engineer and there were frequent analogies in his talk between aircraft and bells.
After the lunch break, he took the students up to see the bells at Portsmouth Cathedral and was able to point out many features that he had covered in his lecture.
The second half of the afternoon was devoted to a practical session on rope splicing, led by Ernest Salmons. He demonstrated long and short splices and eye splices. The students were then able to practise these for themselves. Judging by the number of small pieces of rope littering the floor, not every attempt was successful but by the end of the session everyone had mastered the basics of splicing.
The committee hope that those who attended the Course felt that the day was worthwhile and that everyone learnt something that will be of use in their own towers. Finally, warm thanks are extended to William Palmer and Ernie Salmons for giving up their time and making the day so interesting.
The Ringing World No. 3655, May 15, 1981, page 440