Thursday, October 22, 2009

And more...

Good afternoon Peter

No, I am unable to give exact dates. However......

During my first, or possibly my second, summer term ('60 or '61) there was a service to celebrate the  centenery of The Wells House School in Gt Malvern Abbey. The event did not mean much to a 10 or 11 year old. But amongst us boys there was a certain amount of annoyance that the guest speaker - himself an old boy - was a Judge, possibly Stapleton(?), who had just punished Stirling Moss for speeding. Alternatively, the Abbey records might reveal a centenary service in June '60 or '61.

I don't know when it closed. The dates offered on Facebook seem rather later than I would expect.  I rang the school in May '84 with a view to enrolling my new child, I can't recall the conversation, but I was not able to make the enrollment.

I think the bell in your photograph is the one used to wake us each morning when rung vigourously by Matron.

Yours sincerely,

Former pupil

Former pupil reports

I received this message from a former pupil of The Wells House School today:

"I went to WH in September '59.

There was a bell, but not as shown on the website. It was by the front doors, mounted on the wall - it might have been a ship's bell. It was about 16" high by about 12" at the mouth. It had a crack running up from the mouth, and we were always told to ring it by tapping the clapper rapidly against the same spot. We were told that the bell would crack in half if we bashed the clapper from side to side across the mouth. There was a name on the bell: Swan? I can't remember.

The hallway in from the bell was known as the bell lobby.

The Headmaster, Alan Darval, known to his face by everyone as Beak, would read out on Monday mornings the bell ringing rosta for the week. Every boy who managed to complete his bell ringing duty for a week without any faults, lateness or forgeetting altogether, would be paid 3d. If all the boys in one week performed their duty correctly they would attend a "bell ringers tea party". I can't remember the next period for all correct bell ringing, perhaps two consecutive weeks, but the reward was a half day holiday for the whole school."

I'm still seeking further information about my bell but this was welcome information.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Enquiries are made

13 October 2009

Dear Mr Hyde


Thank you for your email of 12 October 2009.

We have a deposit of records relating to the above which includes school
magazines, log books, photographs, register of old boys 1870-1908,
letters, etc.  Unfortunately this collection has not been formerly
listed but I have had a brief look through and have found a prospectus
which gives a little information on the background of the school as

Wells House School was founded in 1860 and soon became one of the
foremost Prep Schools in the Country.  In former days it had the
distinction of employing Edward Elgar to teach music........We are a
small and friendly co-educational Prep School for ages 3-13........We
cater for Full Boarding, Weekly Boarding and Day Pupils......The
distinctive feature of a Wells House Education is the ease, friendship
and warmth engendered between children across the age groups, and the
development of the social as well as the academic skills which are so
essential for future success.... At the heart of the school is Chapel.
School starts each morning with an act of communal worship and we firmly
believe that the Christian teaching is formative in the moral and social
development of the Wells House child.....Wells House School has produced
famous academics, statesmen, businessmen and international sportsmen.

I am afraid I could not see anything that would help me to answer your
query relating to the school bell but I can give you details of the
depositor of the records who was also a past pupil and governor of the
David Hallmark, OBE Commercial and Business Law Partner
HallmarkHulme Solicitors
3, 4 and 5 Sansome Place,

Yours sincerely,

Fran Ricketts
Senior Archives Assistant

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Hyde [
Sent: 12 October 2009 14:24
To: Record Office All Enquiries and Requests for Documents (ACS)
Subject: The Wells House Preparatory School for boys, Malvern

I have an old school bell that was used at The Wells House Preparatory
School for Boys.

I am trying to find out as much information as possible about this
school which I know is now closed extended if possible to actually
finding someone who can recall the use of the school bell and the
occasions for which it was rung.

Are you able to identify any information or a person or organisation
that may be able to assist me?

With thanks

Peter Hyde

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And now

I shall tomorrow start to find out all I can about The Wells House School. And to discover someone who can actually recall the bell being used.

And then

Now I like to know what bells have done. It makes them come alive, knowing where they have been is all part of the attraction of bells to me. After an exchange of information the bell was on it's way to the New Forest where it now resides in retirement. Like me.

An Email

I like to get bells like this.

I got this email.

Dear Sir,

I came by your website when I entered the word Fiddian into Google. I was looking for information to try and work out the age of a bell that I have, as I intend to sell it, and think it only fair to describe it accurately and honestly. I wondered therefore if you would be kind enough to e-mail me and give me your opinion on the approximate age of the bell, its value and where would be a good place to sell it. It measures 11" high and 6" in diameter and weighs more than 3 lbs. It is very well made, and appears to be of bell metal as opposed to brass, and has the word 'Fiddian' on a brass collar below the handle. I have attached photographs to give you more of an idea of the bell I am describing. It originally came from a boys' public school in Worcestershire, and has been used by me for many years as a doorstop.

I would be most appreciative if you can be of help with regard to the aforementioned bell.

Lady in Devon (identity known to me)