Method archaeology

There was a bit of method history on BellBoard recently. A handbell band rang a peal of Colston Surprise Maximus, which was the first peal of the method as it was originally rung in spliced. I can't remember exactly who told me this, possibly David Brown, but Colston was the first version of Zanussi. The only difference is that the place notation of Colston starts x5Tx14.5T.12x3T while that of Zanussi starts x5Tx14.5Tx12.3T. The effect on the blue line is that 2nd place bell Colston starts with London frontwork, but Zanussi starts by dodging with the treble and then making a Stedman whole turn. In both methods, 4th place bell fits around 2nd place bell. The reason for the change is that Colston has awkward falseness, which is not present in Zanussi - so Zanussi is an improvement and has become a standard method.

Colston was first rung in a double-length peal of all-the-work spliced, in 20 methods, in February 1981. The first peal of Zanussi was in April 1981. Unfortunately there aren't systematic records of the composers of methods - it seems that the Central Council decided at an early stage that methods are mathematical structures rather than creative works. CompLib has a collection that records some attributions of methods to composers, and Zanussi is credited to Rod Pipe, but I don't know about Colston. The composer of the peal that it appeared in was Julian Morgan, so maybe he came up with the method. It was the only new method in the peal. It seems likely that there might be a connection with the Colston Arms in Bristol (less well known is that there is a district of Glasgow called Colston), which in turn refers to Edward Colston the slave trader - and so nowadays Colston is probably the method that dare not speak its name and perhaps it's just as well that it was replaced by Zanussi. The Colston Arms has been renamed The Open Arms, after a brief interlude as Ye Olde Pubby McDrunkface. As a further aside, my family tree includes a Colston Gay, possibly the ultimate embarrassing name - I think he was a cousin of my great-grandfather, and there is a family legend of one of them hitting the other with a milk churn and never speaking to each other again.