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I should have mentioned earlier that the Swell Lieblich Flute 4 was added in the 1940s rebuild on a separate chest above the rest of the pipes. The Larigot was probably added at the same time but is on the soundboard.



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  • 1 month later...

To bring this topic back if anyone is interested, I have just received the original specification of the Brindley & Foster Organ.



Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flute 8

Dulciana 8 (common bass with flute)

Octave 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Swell to Great



Bourdon 16

Violin Diapason 8

Lieblich Gedackt 8

Salicional 8

Voix Celeste 8 TC

Gemshorn 4

Flautina 2

Horn 8

Oboe 8



Sub Octave



Open Diapason 16

Bourdon 16 A

Bass Flute 8 A

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal


Pneumatic Action throughout



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  • 2 years later...

I have been thinking about this project a lot more lately and have some comments and answers to MM's reply.


I quite like the forensic approach to organ-research!


I suspect that the original specification of the Great Organ would have been something like as follows:-


Double Stop Diapason 16 (Possibly on a separate chest, and made available at 16ft and 8ft on the Pedals)

Large Open Diapason 8

Small Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flute 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Grave Mixture 12.15 2 rks


However, it may well have been that the 12:15 Grave Mixture was not present, and the slide may have contained the 4ft Harmonic Flute instead, but if there wasn't a first Diapason (highly unlikely), the 12:15 Grave Mixture AND the 4ft Flute may have been included. I would suggest that, somewhere along the line, an 8ft Great flute has disappeared, and the current one is simply a switched extension from the 16ft, with perhaps a few pipes added at the top end. I say this, because in an organ of this size, a separte 2.2/3 and 2ft would have been a luxury, and almost certainly not in the original specification.I suspect that the Pedal 16ft Principal extension rank may well be the old Open 1 with a new bottom octave added. Of course, it may well be that the bottom octave is wood, which was the usual Brindley rank, and if so, then this would probably change to metal pipes at 8ft pitch and would therefore be a part of the original pedal organ.


The original spec of the Gt was Open 8, Hohl Flt 8, Dulc 8, Oct 4, Harmonic 4. You are correct in that the original 8' Hohl Flute has disappeared, but only pipes 1-46; the top 12 pipes to top A were stoppered and used to extend the 16' Bourdon which was originally on the Swell organ.

The current 2 2/3' and 2' ranks were added in 1971, but in the rebuild before that the 2' rank was an extension unit from which a Twelfth and Fifteenth stops were provided except that the tuning would have been incorrect on the 12th. The current 2 2/3' stop is placed in the space of the original Hohl Flute 8'.

The Pedal Principal 16' is original with pipes 1-30 all being made of wood, something which B&F usually did(?), and pipes 31-42 were added in 1971 to create the Octave 8, the pipes for which came from a Norman & Beard Open Diapason No. 1.


The only other "clue" is the composition of the Mixture quoted as 17,19,22, which would NEVER have featured on a Brindley & Foster organ. They followed the German/Schulze model of purely quint mixtures, and I very much doubt that they ever used the tierce rank, and certainly not in a chorus mixture. The existence of a 3 rks Mxiture (rather than a 2 rks 12:15 Quartane or Grave Mixture) suggests the use of an old, quite spacious area, such as that required of a first diapason.


When I originally posted this topic I made a mistake with the composition of the mixture, not knowing that it was actually 19-22-26. Anyhow this was not an original stop and was added in the space where the Open Diapason 8' was. (I say space because I have also found out there are ventil chests instead of sliders :rolleyes: )


With the exception of the 1.1/3ft stop, the Swell appears to be completely original, other than the re-positioning of the Oboe pipes on the windchest. At guess, the original Swell contained a 2ft Harmonic Picollo , which could have become the 4ft on the Great with a few new pipes, or may have been a 12;15 Mixture. It is even possible that a 2ft Harmonic Picollo was re-positioned as a 1.1/3 pitch (is it a harmonic rank?), or a more normal 2ft Picollo (non harmonic) was cut down a bit.


You are again correct about the Swell being mostly original. The only additions/changes have been the Larigot 1 1/3' which was in the space of the original Bourdon 16', the Lieblich Flute 4' on a separate chest and the transposing of the Oboe, which is currently being re-transposed to 8', and also the removal of the Bourdon 16'.

The Flautina 2' is an original stop, but is not harmonic.


All this is inspired guseework, but I'd wager £5 that I'm not far out, because of the way Brindley & Foster built organs.


They were very conservative (except in the use of quite complex pneumatic-actions), and became builders of more-or-less stock factory organs, using standard scales (Topfer?), and just plucking them form the pipe-makers list of standard bits and pieces. They also did it quite well, and resisted the worst excesses of late romanticism, at least until their later instruments, when stops like the Flute Majico started to make an appearance.


Before suggesting possible improvements, I think a few words about B & F's work is apt. The Swell, almost certainly, will be less loud than the Great by a fair margin, and with rather thin-sounding reeds. There's nothing wrong with this, but it does mean that extensive modifications to the Swell are going to yield very little musically, because there is absolutely no way that this is ever going to be a dominant French (or Willis) type of Swell.


The best feature of the current instrument should be the Great Diapasons, which will be quite bold and not voiced in a dull way at all, if they are true to form.


This is what I would want to do with the Great:-




Principal8 (returned to main windchest)

Hohl Flute 8 (possibly 2nd hand B & F...lots around)

Octave 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (15,19,22 possibly) 3 rks

Trumpet 8 (new, placed on extension chest currently used by 'B' Principal)



The Swell is not much of a problem, in that it is remains largely original for a B & F organ. Much depends on the character of the Flautina, which I would think is more of a diapason type of register. If it is a flute, I would add a 15th and get rid of the Larigot. If it is a true 15th in all but name, I would possibly just leave it as it is, but somehow get a 16ft octave to complete the Oboe. Without radically altering the whole Swell, and for the reasons already stated, the big Swell effect is never going to be obtained, short of installing all new reeds and an expensive new Mixture. Of course, if there is room to squeeze in a 19:22 Mixture, to replace the Larigot, that would be better. I wonder what was there before?


The Flautina 2' as it currently is sounds more fluety than a diapason, but can work well in the Diapason chorus. I think that I would leave it as it is and if a Mixture were to be installed in place of the Larigot, I would include a 15th in that.

The Oboe has just about been completely returned to 8' pitch and is sounding excellent, although we have had to replace the top nine pipes which were removed in 1970s. The Oboe will be much more useful at 8', especially for accompaniment. Suprisingly the Swell is capable of a "big Swell effect" and is something that I have found very useful.

I think that there would possibly be enough room to place a 3rank Mixture in the space occupied by the Larigot, however it may be more preferable to reinstate the Swell Bourdon in that space.




Violin Diapason 8'

Rohr Flute 8'

Salicional 8'

Voix Celeste 8' TC

Gemshorn 4'

Lieblich Flute 4'

Flautina 2'

Larigot 1 1/3'

Contra Oboe 16' TC (orig. Oboe 8')

Cornopean 8'


Super Octave

Unison Off

Sub Octave


The Pedal is possibly the weakest department in the current organ, and my greatest objection is the use of the 8ft Great Principal as an extended rank. This makes the Principal "off chest" for starters, but also, means that the Pedal notes are the same as the middle octaves of the Great 8ft Diapason when the 15th and Octavin, ( 4ft and 2ft) are being used.


In such a limited department, a reed is possibly a better alternative to this extended upperwork, and on this basis, the Great Trumpet (8ft), now placed on the old extension chest, could be extended down to 16ft with a new bass, and taken up to 8ft and 4ft on the Pedals. A better 4ft would probably ensue by extending the 8ft Octave further, assuming that is made of metal pipes, as I suggested, because in my experience, the 8ft metal octave first blends with the wood basses, and then becomes progressively more Diapason like as the notes go up.....a very nice feature of Brindley & Foster organs, and far better than those awful Octave Woods. Brindley's probably got this idea from Schulze at Doncaster, where there is one of the earliest

extension pedal organs.


The Pedal would then look like this:-




Resultant Bass 32' C/D

Principal 16' C

Sub Bass 16' D

Octave 8' C

Bass Flute 8' D

Fifteenth 4' C

Octavin 2' C

Trombone 16 (Ext. from Gt 8ft)

Trumpet 8 (from Gt)

Clarion 4 (Ext from Gt 8ft)


I like the look of this, especially the idea of independant upperwork. However as I said above the Open Diapason 16 is all wood up to pipe 31 so this may or may not work. I had thought of the idea of adding an independant Principal 8' of metal which could be extended up to 4' at least. The 2' in my opinion is a bit of a waste and would be better changed as a Octave Flute 4' extended from the SubBass 16'.

I think a Pedal Trombone would be a very good idea and there has been some thought towards installing a 16' & 8' unit with the Great.



Finally, a third manual, which could be small, (enclosed or unenclosed) and perfectly functional.


Knowing the sort of voicing used by Brindley & Foster, the following would make a perfect little foil to the Great, and would NOT be a baroque positive in any shape or form.




Stopped Diapason 8

Nason Flute 4

Principal 2

Recorder 2

Sext (12.17) 2 rks


It would stand alone, act as a second chorus successfully and provide the solo (English) cornet effect, as well as add to the whole by coupling. Can anyone live without a 2ft Flute?


Well, I like it anyway.




Sorry for bringing this topic up again, but it is something that has intrigued me over the last couple of weeks.



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