During the Festival of Archaeology it was my privilege to share memories about two of our village #HumansOfArchaeology, Andrew Sewell and Howard Gibbs. Today seems an appropriate day to recall another gentleman in the village, who many will remember, and whose inexhaustible ingenuity supported many projects: Marcus Rouse.
In the very earliest days of the ‘Aldbourne Archive’, Marcus was kind enough to offer much advice on photographing objects. This included our original effort for 3D photography. The Aldbourne Carnival Crown he made, commissioned by the Cheney family, was our very first project (2005). Marcus explained the symbols in the metalwork. Dabchicks, The Square, Bells, and the Cross on the Green, the coloured cord around the base of the metalwork represents the sallies or bell-ropes in the Church Tower. Hours of fun with a turntable, DIY lighting and a VERY DIY background, and a PowerPoint followed. I can remember long chats when we bumped into each other around the village, once Marcus was inspired by a project his enthusiasm knew no bounds! Much missed.
Marcus contributed a bell wheel for the exhibition in the Memorial Hall during the 2010 Festival. He made a wooden cut-out of a bell, to show the relative size of bell and wheel. He also brought along a bell clapper on wheels; so that small people could safely judge the weight. As I said, a man of great ingenuity.
One of my prized possessions is an acrylic block shaped like a barn which Marcus presented as a memento of a barn dance celebrating my 40th. The year will remain a mystery!
For the first Aldbourne Festival in 1970, Marcus created a bell foundry on the Green. There was a photograph of this in a fundraising calendar for 2001 and the Aldbourne Heritage Centre have one of his bells, and a model foundry, on display. I hope to find time to search through pictures in the Aldbourne Photographic Club collection at the Heritage Centre to find a photo of the man himself. There’s also a fleeting glimpse of the foundry in the film taken by Moya Dixon during the 1970 Festival
I’m putting together a collection of Dabchicks (if anyone has a spare number 39 – April 1997) that would be fab! Today is an appropriate day to publish these reminiscences following this article by Marcus that I discovered whilst sorting through the collection.