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Henry Willis

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Everything posted by Henry Willis

  1. At 10.30am today, Colin Walsh becomes 'Doctor' Walsh. The Degree is conferred by The University of Lincoln in recognition of his services to music & Lincoln Cathedral, where he has been Organist for 25 years. I hope that the members of this forum will join me in wishing Colin the heartiest congratulations on his being honoured in this way in recognition of his great service to Cathedral Music. David Wyld
  2. The original poster to this list had obviously been told by someone presumably authorised to do so, if not, then that was their problem, not the poster to this list. My own 'informant' had already discussed it with Roger Sayer - to whom hearty congratulations, by the way - and so presumably that (under your 'rules') counts as authorised publication. Frankly I'm astounded at the whole tenor of this inquisitional nonsense! And may I remind you that it was not I who alerted the world to the fact that you hadn't been told. DW
  3. There is no implication of discourtesy (the suggestion of which I might actually resent): your questioning of the original poster of this 'information' however is discourteous in its tone, presumably because you didn't get to know first judging from the above. This is a classic case of don't shoot the messenger - the information is out, like it or not, the concomitant of the digital age in which we live, n'est ce pas? You have posted to this thread previously with similar information in the "I've just heard..." vein (12th May) that implied that you thought you might be the first: did you bother to check if a public announcement had been made? I think you might find that enquiries made to or through this list are in the hope of hearing something before the public does. I was told on Friday last week, by a Cathedral Organist, at dinner. I didn't think then that I'd prefer to hear the "Public Announcement" and I don't now. Sorry. DW
  4. Does it matter, if they're right? And they are! DW
  5. Hamptworth Lodge: New organ built to the order (and Specification) of Mr. H.C. Moffatt 1926 Great: Open Diapason 8; Claribel Flute 8; Stopped Diapason 8; Harmonic Flute 4 Swell: Claribel Flute 8; Salicional 8; Vox Angelica 8; Gemshorn 4; Oboe 8 Choir: Dulciana 8; Lieblich Gedackt 8; Lieblich Flute 4; Clarinet 8 (Enclosed) Pedal: Open Diapason 16; Bourdon 16; Flute 8 The firm looked after the organ until 1934, then nothing until the 1950s when a 'suggestion' was made by HW3 to revise the specification (though there is nothing further to suggestthat this was ever done, before the organ was first offered for sale - after Mr. Moffatt's death presumably) in 1958. The vendor, presumably Mr. Moffatt's son, believed the instrument to have pipes made of 'silver' and it was he who determined that the organ must have been a 'sister' organ to Salisbury as his Father "had paid for the restoration of the Salisbury Cathedral Organ". Mr. Willis wrote to him to tell him that it was a common misconception that there was any silver content in organ pipe metal and that although his father had been a great friend of Sir Walter Alcock, it was possibly unlikely that he had actually paid the entire cost of the Salisbury work. He also told him that he would be unlikely to receive the £3000 which he was demanding as the sale price of the organ and that £1000 would be more reasonable. The organ was obviously not sold! The tonal revision suggested by HW3 was: Great: Open Diapason 8; Stopped Diapason 8; Principal 4; Fifteenth 2 Swell: Claribel Flute 8; Salicional 8; Vox Angelica 8; Gemshorn 4; Mixture 15.19.22 Choir/Pos: Lieblich Gedackt 8; Dulciana 8; Nason Flute 4; Cornet 12.15.17 Ped: As above. Electro-pneumatic action - could be Pitman, but not sure and nothing in the file to say so (though we have photographs, and the the interior of the console includes views of 'Skinner' switches which the firm did use commonly thjough not exclusively with Pitman actions. There are notes of certain action faults in the tuners reports which our Foreman tells me indicates that the entire organ is wired on the Willis 'Grid' system. The organ fell out of use in the 1940s when the local electricity supply was changed from D.C. to A.C. and it isn't clear that the motor modifications were ever carried out, so in fact, the organ may have been without wind for a VERY long time! Our last contact with the place was in 1967, nothing since. The file and details are available to anyone who wishes to put together a proper entry for the NPOR. DW
  6. After a lot of digging and several emails to various places to find out the name of the original purchaser, this morning a return email from Paul Joslin with the very name required to find the file! More later. DW
  7. In not aware that there are any girls in the choir of Westminster Abbey. Why is that "Disappointing"? David Wyld
  8. Obviously it depends on the reliability of the source! DW
  9. Well lets just say it looks like The Temple is up for grabs now (on the early-morning grapevine, so one assumes it to be true!). DW
  10. The past three weeks have seen the humidity levels rise considerably and several instruments which had been rendered totally unplayable (with their present custodians beginning to think that their organs were completely ruined!) have now returned to their 'normal' state with but a few minor regulation issues. What is stranger is the apparent lack of understanding of the average person as to what atmospheric humidity actually is and why it is depressed by extreme and prolonged cold weather. And, I wonder if anyone can explain to me any possible rationale behind the idea that because it's cold outside "I need to turn the heating up" - and then the thermostat, which has been set to 65F throughout the whole of the past year, is turned up to 75F! Have I missed something? DW
  11. Yes indeed, and Liverpool Cathedral organis suffering just so again at the moment, according to a text message which I received after the Easter Day broadcast last week. I'm in London at the moment and will have to call into the Ally Pally tomorrow morning at about 8am to endpsure that the main humidif system is running and set to the right levels - such things in Public Building ALWAYS get 'fiddled with'! Such prolonged and extreme dryness following months of prolonged dampness is a killer - witness, my bees: one hive completely dead, lots of bees there and no shortage of food, but the hive is full of some sort of fungus AND two slugs! The other hive is still showing signs of life but queen-less, so I'm afraid they'll not last. The cause is the extreme weather so I'm informed by the county bee inspector. So it's not just organs I'm afraid DW
  12. The ARH (Atmospheric Relative Humidity) is currently depressed further than we have ever seen it I think - last week even here in the factory it struggled to reach a high of 30% and in two jobs I visited myself it was at 22% and 28% respectively. Even the very-best-built instruments are suffering and you are not alone! Ciphers appearing in organs which have not ciphered in living memory. Hopefully this week will bring about a fairly drastic change. DW
  13. Actually he has several, of different periods! I'll be seeing him shortly, so I';ll ask him what is the raison d'être behind the design for the console. DW
  14. We make the boot with the whole of one side made removable by taking out screws. Try looking at http://www.willis-organs.com/picts/auckland/Auckland106.jpg Mr. Willis used to go a step further of course and make the removable side from Perspex or framed glass (as at Hereford). DW
  15. Non - c'est le banc de Vierne! DW Ooops! No it's not, his has a backrest! Trying to find a photo......
  16. Well I sincerely hope that your Compton research is more accurate than this nonsense. We know exactly who made and voiced most of the organ - all in the file. Yet another re-writing of history? For the record, the Apse Organ was all completed prior to the takeover in 1919, the remainder of the organ was all completed over the ten year period from 1922 - over three years after the takeover. There are, for example, several 'Double Langward' stops, all of the reeds were voiced under the direction of Deeks, the scales are all Willis, not Lewis. I really don't understand where this Henry 3 bashing stuff originates, Stephen Bicknell was an apalling example, even in the statement reiterated earlier in this thread where he opines that HW3 never had an original thought in his life! He never met him and so didn't know him and was relying on the referred opinion of others who had obvious axes to grind. It's somewhat pathetic and certainly NOT scholarship. DW
  17. MM - Am I right in thinking that that picture might have been taken in the Ballroom of the Adelphi Hotel in Ranalagh Place? On the steps to the right or left of the entrance from the Foyer? DW
  18. Don't worry Paul - no offence, I WAS joking! I think my cars (and involvement with them) have been pretty much common knowledge for donkey's years, but there is of course always the temptation or proclivity for some to believe that these might be the result of overcharging! I think it is important to point out that they are mine, not the Company's - a different scenario of course if a one-man-band organ person were to have one, as a 'Company Car'! DW
  19. As Paul has so kindly dragged ME into this : Please note that some of us had lives prior to entering organbuilding! In fact, far more lucrative lives - I've said several times publicly that I have never worked so hard for so little. I have always put more into this firm than I've ever taken out and please note Mr. Madorganist, these are MY motors, NOT the Company's! I had my first 'proper' car when I was 17, unsurprisingly, given the pictures above, that was a Rolls-Royce. In those days one could acquire an elderly one for under £500 - which was of course still a lot of money then. My paternal Grandfather was a R-R engineer so I'd always been interested. Also, more specifically regarding this particular thread: I was a Lay Clerk at Ripon from 1986 up to the early 90s (by then I drove a 1961 S2 Bentley) and I must say that I always found the Choir organ far too loud, in the Choir, so much so that it was rarely used for accompaniment of the Choir proper! The organ does its job there spectacularly well, but it could often sound particularly 'tubby' and not at all Lewis-like. For those interested, the upper picture supplied by Paul is of a 1978 Silver Wraith, originally built for The Lord Inchcape: I used this car regularly from 1995 up to moving the firm up to Liverpool but the body now needs some restoration work which will bwe done over the coming winter; the lower picture is of my 1937 Phantom III which has a 7.4 litre V12 engine (currently out and being rebuilt, as a 75th Birthday Present) the body being a 'one-off' by H.J. Mulliner. I also have a 1956 Silver Cloud coachbuilt SC10, body by James Young - one of only 17 built, which I re-imported from the U.S. last year, where it had been since 1968. As to the regularity and cost or work done to Cathedral organs - I think that you might find that most, if not all, of that is carried out by but a single firm these days and therefore nothing to do with us. DW
  20. Well, That's what it says!! I still have these files out on a desk in the office and so had another look through the file marked "HW3", which is mostly stuff he seems to have used either for reference or personal correspondence: it is quite specific in ALL mentions of the swell, even in 1959/60 as being on 3 1/2" and untouched from 1872. This is really irritating isn't it?? I too would like to know how this discrepancy has come to be noted, especially as it isn't noted here! If someone on this forum has some spare time PLEASE come and spend a couple of days going through the two full filing cabinet drawers of files to try to find out! DW
  21. I may be able to assist further: There is a works copy (typed) specification in no 17. file (from 1st Jan 1970 - 31st Dec 1970) of the work done in 1960 which shews the pressure retained at 3 1/2" - the last time that Willis did any work, so it couldn't have been changed between then and the rebuilding. Regards, DW
  22. The 'mystery' has gotten the better of me and I have taken the morning to take out all of the St. Paul's Cathedral files from the archive - I'm filthy dirty now! There are MANY sheets of voicing shop notes, specifications to the Works, reports, etc., etc., and in ALL of these the Swell (Fluework) is only ever referred to as being on 3 1/2" w.g.. Also, in all cases, the Swell is always referred to has having never been changed from 1872. For further interest, there is a 6-page note written in HW3's own hand to No. 2 Voicing Shop which indicates that the three stops in the Choir that were reputed to be fed from the same reservoir as the Swell Flues are indeed on 4 1/2" wind, but not fed from that res. at all (see later). File notes from Nov. 1945 include a typed out "Reservoir Key" shewing what is fed from which reservoir and at what pressure: No 1 - (Under Solo) Chancel South side 10" & Solo Swell engine 10" No 2.- (Under Solo) Solo back soundboard & Cor-di-Bassetto, Ped. Bourdon & Violone 3 1/2" No 3. - Chancel Pedal: Open Bass, Octave, Flute, Octave Flute 3 1/2" No 4. - Solo front soundboard: Con. Fagotto, French Horn, Cor Anglais 7" No 5. - Solo Front soundboard: Trumpet, Con. Posaune, Chancel Ped Ophicleide 17" No 6. - Altar Organ 4 1/2" No 7. - Swell & Choir Drawstop Action 17" No 8. - Choir Pitman Chest 4 1/2" No 9. - Choir main Fluework soundboard & front pipes 2 3/4" No 10. - Swell Reeds soundboard 7" No. 11 - Swell Fluework soundboard; Choir Flute Harmonique, Cor.-di- Bassetto & Cor Anglais pallet 3 1/2" etc., etc., etc.. And HERE I think we may be getting to the source of the mistake: If it has been noted in other places that the same reservoir supplies the Swell and THREE STOPS IN THE CHOIR, then these three stops could have been mistaken for the three on the Pitman chest, on higher pressure (which just happens to be 4 1/2"). There is therefore no doubt that the Swell was on 3 1/2" wind - at least until the rebuild carried out by Mander - and I really do doubt that it would ever have been changed. The 'sources' appear to be wrong! These details are available to be inspected by any interested party. Now I'm afraid I must get back to paid work. Regards, David Wyld
  23. Sorry - this is a little late I know!! For anyone in the North Lancashire area who needs something to take their mind off a dreary lenten Friday evening - Lancaster, St. Peter's Cathedral Friday 2nd March at 8.15pm Colin Walsh programme is: Grand Choeur Dialogue - Gigout Salut d'Amour - Elgar, arr. Walsh Toccata and Fugue in F Major BWV 540 - JS Bach Allegretto Grazioso (from Six Pieces) - Bridge Scherzo in G Minor - Bossi March: 'The Dambusters' - Coates, arr. Walsh Allegro Cantabile (from Symphony V) - Widor Final (from Symphony I)- Vierne
  24. Ha! "We're not putting our expensive heating on just to keep your men warm."! Twice I've had that one.
  25. It has not been offered. This has all been gone into in an earlier thread (which I'm sure that we could resurrect): after the last round of writing letters and having been told that there is no certainty in these matters, the CBE was forthcoming. Perhaps a more determined 'attack' would bear fruit? It IS a disgrace of course. DW
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