SOUNDING SPACE 014: Bell Meadow, Chelmsford         
Overview Report, by Roger Millington.

Photography by Miss Jenny Scott

‘Glaciers, Pebbles and Radio Waves’:
Early data from the newly-discovered sounding space at Bell Meadow, (Sonic Phenomena with Bells On! Denny and Collingwood, forthcoming) suggests that sonic phenomena on this site are the result of a unique combination of geological and man-made conditions.
Here we experience a striking confluence of crystalline loop induction in glacial gravel deposits, amplified (Denny and Collingwood believe) by the proto-historic effects of early experimental radio transmissions conducted by Marconi at the nearby Hall Street Radio Factory.
Two million years ago, during the early Ice Age, the River Thames flowed north of London to become a tributary of the Rhine, dropping Kesgrave Sands and Gravels along its massive ancient river bed, and transporting volcanic rocks from as far away as the Welsh mountains.
These puddingstones and sarsens, quartzes and gravels are well-known for their ability to trap sonic phenomena within their crystalline structures, a phenomenon explained by Dr Stella Barrows in her seminal paper Rocking Radiophony – Crystalline Induction in Sonic Geology.

The 'icing' on the site’s sonic geology 'cake' at Bell Meadow (if you will forgive the pun) is the remarkable variety of sonically-active deposits laid down in this area during the Ice Age. The Great Anglian Glaciation allowed an ice sheet some 3000ft deep to spread south into the region, blocking the Thames and causing a catastrophic change to the route of the river, diverting it south to its present position.

The remarkable abundance of sonically-responsive 'bunter' quartzite and Hertfordshire puddingstone laid down in the ancient Thames gravels can be seen in the traditional architecture of Chelmsford Cathedral, Broomfield church and many other local buildings, as well as in the Neolithic craft of Essex flint knapping. The radiophonic susceptibility of these stones to the loop induction of proto-historic sonic phenomena is well documented by NISG.
As Denny and Collingwood suggest, the geology in this area may have effectively turned the entire area into a huge Crystal Set radio receiver, additionally charged by the underground spring line that runs right around Danbury Hill, leaching iron from the gravels to create metallic, electro-inductive 'bog-iron' in the soil.
One would assume that this were enough to explain the abundance of proto-historic musical, industrial and conversational sonic phenomena found in the Bell Meadow area, such as the ‘singing’ of the ancient riverbed, the ‘sonic sermons’ recorded from beneath nearby churches, the repeated campanological bell patterns, the geological historical echoes of cricket matches and peasant rebellion.

However, as Denny and Collingwood suggest in their riveting recent research, the experimental radio transmissions conducted by Guglielmo Marconi from the nearby Hall Street Radio Works between 1898 and 1920 seem to have further stimulated a plethora of repeating, loop-inductive wonders. Many an unsuspecting late night reveller has been surprised by the sudden sonic emergence of Dame Nellie Melba singing the famous aria of Marconi’s first experimental broadcast to the world in 1920, for example. NISG research further suggests that the two 450 feet (140 m) aerial masts that were added to the site in 1919 may have activated sub-frequencies that continue to stimulate sonic geology in Bell Meadow to this day, releasing melodic and conversational phenomena.
One can only speculate as to the sonic effects of the many secretive, military research laboratories that have been set up in Chelmsford since 1940, covering technologies such as radar, general physics, high voltage, vacuum physics and semi-conduction.

At Bell Meadow, sonic geology collides with the wonders of atmospheric electromagnetism and long distance radio communication, creating a ‘sonic sponge’ that has absorbed centuries of sound. It is with great excitement that we invite Citizen Scientists to explore these wonders through Ear Trumpet technology.