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Liverpool Cathedral / Ian Tracey


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My many contacts in the organ world, do in fact confirm that David Wells are Liverpool's leading organ builders, so it is rather childish to get "sour grapes" over such a matter

Not everyone can be wrong. Just try and make yourself better, and stop aleinating so many good people.

Colin Richell.

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My many contacts in the organ world, do in fact confirm that David Wells are Liverpool's leading organ builders, so it is rather childish to get "sour grapes" over such a matter

Not everyone can be wrong. Just try and make yourself better, and stop aleinating so many good people.

Colin Richell.

Colin,

Many of us are very familiar with your views, but I think it is discourteous to our hosts to air them in this way on their site.

JC

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Let's be fair. Both David Wells and Willis are the foremost organ-builders in Liverpool.

 

That wasn't too difficult, was it? B)

 

 

Claims are fairly pointless. Accolades are what you want. The silliest claim I've seen in this connection is Allen's. They used to advertise on the back of The Church Times boasting that they were 'the most successful organ-builder in history'. I don't know why some disputatious S.O.B. didn't take them to court and win simply by proving that all they'd ever succeeded in building were imitations.

 

What about Cavaille-Coll, FHW, Ernest Skinner, Arp Schnitger...?

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Doesn't the present firm of Willis operate out of the old R & D factory?

 

Hi

 

Yes. They did the restoration work on my church organ, so I visited the works a couple of times whilst it was there.

 

The really sad thing is that most of the R&D records were destroyed before they handed the building over.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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This discussion just highlights how much interest Liverpool Cathedral organ generates.

 

The downside of this is that there are many other fine organs in Merseyside which rarely ever get a mention and trying to find competent organists to play them is even more difficult.

 

The Father Willis organ at Mossley Hill is an absolute gem yet few people outside of Liverpool seem to know about it.

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Guest Barry Oakley
So what happened to Rushworth and Dreaper? I am sure I went into their shop in Liverpool once and played Bongo Drums...

 

I don't know about the music shop, but the organ-building operation went out of business probably four or five years ago (it may be longer). I rather got the impression, seeing a number of R&D's quotations, that they tried to seek their continuing existence by price inflation. A number of companies have eventually bitten the dust by following such a policy.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Colin,

Many of us are very familiar with your views, but I think it is discourteous to our hosts to air them in this way on their site.

JC

 

Well said, John. I think we all know that it is David Wyld who is really the constant recipient of Mr Richell's attacks and having planted the knife some time ago he cannot stop twisting it. Don't just give it a rest, Colin, try and forget about what happened in the past. I think you'll feel a lot better.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Doesn't the present firm of Willis operate out of the old R & D factory?

 

Yes, they do. But it would be interesting to know what the make-up of the present company is; how many former Willis time-served employees are in the company or is it largely men with previous careers working for Walkers or R&D? I’m not too clued-up about the history of Liverpool-based organ builders, but it must be quite an interesting subject given that Liverpool was second to London in terms of prosperity a century or two ago.

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Yes, they do. But it would be interesting to know what the make-up of the present company is; how many former Willis time-served employees are in the company or is it largely men with previous careers working for Walkers or R&D? I’m not too clued-up about the history of Liverpool-based organ builders, but it must be quite an interesting subject given that Liverpool was second to London in terms of prosperity a century or two ago.

 

I should first put to rest any notion at all that there is a 'present' firm - the Company is the same Company, merely with no members of the Willis family as Directors or Shareholders and still the same registration number (70718) from 1901.

 

We have no former employees af any other (British) Company, especially NOT R&D. Our Works Director, Frederick Preston, has been with the firm since 1966, three more of our men have been with us since 1961, 1971 & 1972, respectively. All of the later staff joined us as apprentices or as skilled men from other firms: i.e we have a Pole, formerly with Zych and a Swiss, formerly with St. Martin.

 

We have 15 staff at present with others due towards the end of this year.

 

When we sold the Petersfield factory we moved into a 10,000 sq. ft. 'unit' as a temporary measure, in Liverpool - the intention being to find a plot of land and to build a new factory. However, in the meantime, Rushworths went belly-up and I/we bought their building (including all of the contents) and we operate in approximately 17,500 sq. ft.

 

As Tony Newnham said, it was unfortunate that Rushworth destroyed ALL of the paper records of both his own firm and of those 'absorbed' over many years. As far as I'm concerned, a criminal act - especially as it all belonged to me anyway! This was really the fault of the Liquidator, from whom we were purchasing the stuff: we did warn him that there was an industrial shedding van outside the premises for a full week and he relied on the information that Rushworth had given him - that he was simply shredding a small amount of 'sensitive wages material etc., the Data-protection Act being used as an excuse.

 

We have been here for almost 4 years now and have transformed the building by doing the maintenance which was so badly neglected over almost thirty years.

 

Coincidentally, it is 10 years to day since I took over as Managing Director - some pundits at the time gave us 6 months but I think that that was just a little unkind!

 

All of us in this trade come in for 'stick' from one quarter or another, usually for quite the wrong reasons and usually dished out by those who really can't do anything else particularly successfully. But we carry on.

 

Regards,

 

DW

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Guest Roffensis
This discussion just highlights how much interest Liverpool Cathedral organ generates.

 

The downside of this is that there are many other fine organs in Merseyside which rarely ever get a mention and trying to find competent organists to play them is even more difficult.

 

The Father Willis organ at Mossley Hill is an absolute gem yet few people outside of Liverpool seem to know about it.

 

 

Father Willis? There are a handful of original Fr. Willis's left in Liverpool, but let's not forget poor St.Georges Hall. That instrument is still sitting pretty and silently.

 

Now let's see, when was the last time there was a public recital there? in this city of culture :P

 

Even the organ day there was cancelled this year :P

 

All very disheartening.

 

R

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:angry:

Father Willis? There are a handful of original Fr. Willis's left in Liverpool, but let's not forget poor St.Georges Hall. That instrument is still sitting pretty and silently.

 

Now let's see, when was the last time there was a public recital there? in this city of culture :lol:

 

Even the organ day there was cancelled this year :(

 

All very disheartening.

 

R

-----------------------

The situation at St Georges hall is very sad. Nevertheless can anyone explain why money was spent adding a sequencer etc and changing the tab stop couplers to draw stops at the expense of getting some of the silent pipework working again.

 

On the face of it this seems to be a total mismanagement of affairs unless there was a specific reason for this unknown to me. :angry:

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It is good of David Wyld to set the record straight, amongst the flames of what are obviously past disagreements. I applaude him and the firm because ANYONE running an organ building business in this country deserves all our support and grateful thanks for continuing a trade which is so interesting and fulfilling to all of us here!

 

Ten years down the line or 110 years, it doesn't matter - WELL DONE, I say!

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It is good of David Wyld to set the record straight, amongst the flames of what are obviously past disagreements. I applaude him and the firm because ANYONE running an organ building business in this country deserves all our support and grateful thanks for continuing a trade which is so interesting and fulfilling to all of us here!

 

Ten years down the line or 110 years, it doesn't matter - WELL DONE, I say!

 

 

Organ building like any other business is competitive, and consequently organ builders are in competition with each other for business, which may be thin on the ground.

I just do not think that the obvious dislike, or even jealously of another firm should be made public on the Mander site.

Forget the past and get on with the future, and make yourself better than the competition.

Colin Richell.

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Tell us more! I was in Chester Cathedral yesterday and not a hint of any such thing, although maybe everyone's just keeping mum. I have to admit though it wouldn't surprise me, Chester's music staff are of the highest quality at present and one, although a fine organist, is also an excellent choir man.

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