Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Arson In Birmingham


basdav
 Share

Recommended Posts

Yesterday, 4.10.07, St Barnabus Erdington was totally destroyed by fire, the only section that remains intact is the bell tower, arson is suspected and is being investigated by the authorities.

Sadly the 4 manual organ and its console built by HNB for The Church of the Redeemer Hagley Road Birmingham, installed in the church a few years ago by Sheffields was destroyed in the fire.

There are plans already to rebuild the church, which was about to celebrate its 150th Aniversary next year, let us hope the organ does not get a secondary place in these plans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Barry Oakley
Yesterday, 4.10.07, St Barnabus Erdington was totally destroyed by fire, the only section that remains intact is the bell tower, arson is suspected and is being investigated by the authorities.

Sadly the 4 manual organ and its console built by HNB for The Church of the Redeemer Hagley Road Birmingham, installed in the church a few years ago by Sheffields was destroyed in the fire.

There are plans already to rebuild the church, which was about to celebrate its 150th Aniversary next year, let us hope the organ does not get a secondary place in these plans.

 

 

The cynic in me (Sorry, Paul) reckons the organ is, sadly, likely to be of a very secondary consideration and, at best, could well be replaced by a toaster. I hope I'm proved wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The cynic in me (Sorry, Paul) reckons the organ is, sadly, likely to be of a very secondary consideration and, at best, could well be replaced by a toaster. I hope I'm proved wrong.

 

....................though the eternal optimist in me should point out that this resulted from a church fire in 1992.

 

AJJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As also did the Grant Degens and Bradbeer organ of St Mary's Woodford - one of my desert island instruments.

 

The old church was (partially) destroyed by fire in 1967. The new church was re - modelled within what remained of the walls.

 

Happily, the then vicar was very musical and committed to a first rate new organ. His organist was a fine musician and a pupil of Flor Peeters. GDB had recently completed New College, Oxford. A happy combination of circumstances arising out of the terrible fire (which was also arson). Let us hope for similar things in Birmingham.

 

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And this http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N09193 which replaced this: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D00491 when an arsonist set fire to the pedalboard on Ash Wednesday (no joke) 1984.

And a similar encouraging story at St. Alphage, Burnt Oak in North West London who now have a very nice little IIP/17 by the Shepherd Brothers using mostly old Willis pipework from a church in Bermondsey. http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=E00095

JC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And a similar encouraging story at St. Alphage, Burnt Oak in North West London who now have a very nice little IIP/17 by the Shepherd Brothers using mostly old Willis pipework from a church in Bermondsey. http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=E00095

JC

 

 

This is a sad day for the Parish Church in Erdington. I remember the Organ well. A series of Recitals took place in the early 90s by eminent Organists. Although the organ itself was in need of a rebuild it was still playable. Iam afraid, it is a sign of the times of our sick society. It was well known that the Church Yard was used by druggies, down and outs for some considerable time. I doubt very much there will be another Pipe Organ there. The important thing to keep in mind is it is people that are the Church regardless of what edifice exsists or dosen't ! I understand there is to be a open air Service this weekend outside the Church in the morning so that Parshioner's can comes to terms with this devastating news.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Lee Blick
It was well known that the Church Yard was used by druggies, down and outs for some considerable time.

 

Interesting comments. Are you saying that these people are somehow responsible for the fire?

 

Were these sort of people on the doorstep of the church because it was a convenient place for them to 'shoot up or sleep', or were they there because the church was offering support and fellowship?

 

Sad it is to see a church destroyed, they are now effectively homeless and presumably the clergy and congregation will now be able to identify more closely with the 'sick society' in which they will be rebuilding the church. After all that is what Christianity is about? To serve those who are forgotten and marginalised in society...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Barry Williams
Interesting comments. Are you saying that these people are somehow responsible for the fire?

 

Were these sort of people on the doorstep of the church because it was a convenient place for them to 'shoot up or sleep', or were they there because the church was offering support and fellowship?

 

Sad it is to see a church destroyed, they are now effectively homeless and presumably the clergy and congregation will now be able to identify more closely with the 'sick society' in which they will be rebuilding the church. After all that is what Christianity is about? To serve those who are forgotten and marginalised in society...

 

 

Absolutely. Readers will know from another post of mine that a Bishop recently stated, clearly and unequivocally, that Jesus came to give us a different way of life, rather than a religion.

 

Organs have a value in drawing people to the contemplation of things on high, but they must be seen in context. Board members will know of my insistence of Section 1 of the Ecclesiastical Jurisiction Measure which sets these things in proper context, at least for the Church of England. The church is always the people rather than the building.

 

Barry Williams

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolutely. Readers will know from another post of mine that a Bishop recently stated, clearly and unequivocally, that Jesus came to give us a different way of life, rather than a religion.

 

Organs have a value in drawing people to the contemplation of things on high, but they must be seen in context. Board members will know of my insistence of Section 1 of the Ecclesiastical Jurisiction Measure which sets these things in proper context, at least for the Church of England. The church is always the people rather than the building.

 

Barry Williams

 

Hi

 

This should be the same for ALL Christian denominations! The church is the people, the place where we meet is the church building (the Americanism "Church Facility" does at least help to distinguish).

 

Recently, my wife (who is also assistant Pastor here) was told very firmly by someone from outside the church that "Heaton Baptist Church doesn't exist any more - the building has been knocked down". That is far from the case - the church is alive - just because, in the 1980's, there was a need for the shrinking congregation to dispose of their 700-seat Victorian pile before it collapsed around their ears didn't meaqn that the church was no more.

 

When the building becomes, in effect, the object of all our efforts, are we not in danger of idolatory? (And the same could be said of organists for whom the church organ is more important than anything else in the life of the church?)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

This should be the same for ALL Christian denominations! The church is the people, the place where we meet is the church building (the Americanism "Church Facility" does at least help to distinguish).

 

Recently, my wife (who is also assistant Pastor here) was told very firmly by someone from outside the church that "Heaton Baptist Church doesn't exist any more - the building has been knocked down". That is far from the case - the church is alive - just because, in the 1980's, there was a need for the shrinking congregation to dispose of their 700-seat Victorian pile before it collapsed around their ears didn't meaqn that the church was no more.

 

When the building becomes, in effect, the object of all our efforts, are we not in danger of idolatory? (And the same could be said of organists for whom the church organ is more important than anything else in the life of the church?)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

As always, you give us food for thought !

 

To me an organ belongs to the Art history; should it not be needed any more,

for whatever reason -building too big for a shrinking congregation, lack of funds

for maintenance & repairs, etc- it should be moved elsewhere, exactly like,

say, historic paint jobs which value skyrocketed while the people became poor;

should the church sell these things to help the people or have all doors shut in

order to protect the treasure?

There are some cases in Belgium of "rich building, poor people" churches. There

are no living congregations singing happily there...

Preserving the Heritage while still giving priority to the people; no quick fixes

to be expected to work, indeed.

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For many organists, the organ IS more important than the church and the religion. There is not necessarily a correlation between believers in that particular religion and musicianship. I've met quite a few organists who would not go near a church were it not for that fact that it might contain a decent organ adn, hopefully, a reasonable choir.

 

Hi

 

I know a few like that as well - and I find it very sad.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

I know a few like that as well - and I find it very sad.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

I think I understand why. But, on the other hand, a church might get the services of a competent musician this way, who may not be quite so sensitive to the negative pressures of the organised religion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I understand why. But, on the other hand, a church might get the services of a competent musician this way, who may not be quite so sensitive to the negative pressures of the organised religion.

 

 

 

With regard to some of the earlier comments I made. I did not state that the druggies, down and outs were responsible for the Fire. I said it was well known that they were using the Church yard for some considerable time. We were told on local news that it was suspected Arson. And more recently it has been confirmed the Church will be rebuilt in the next two years time. Whether there are plans to replaced the Organ with another pipe remains to be seen. What I would say about people who are obviously in need of help of the Church the door is never shut in their face . This couldn't be more so then where the Church I play at is the case. Cups of Tea and may be sometimes money is offered to get rid of them. Some of them can be a nuisance as well as the aggressive types where we have had cases of our Congregation having their bags stolen or other items. The point is The Church is a haven for these people. Look at Westminster Cathedral a beggars paradise or St Martin's in the fields Trafaglar Square. I found it very uncomfortable the first time I ever visited St Martin's in the fields and was amazed at the number of homeless people sleeping in the pews while visitors just carried on about their business. What are we saying here ? That these people have some right to be there regardless of the fact it is a Church or noble edifice ? I just don't understand why some Churches allow it to happen in the first place. We are living in more cautious times and security is so vital especially in a Church. What would any of u do if one of these types of people pulled a knife on u ? U just don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Lee Blick
Cups of Tea and may be sometimes money is offered to get rid of them.

 

What a fantastic example of Christian mission. :P

 

 

The Church is a haven for these people. Look at Westminster Cathedral a beggars paradise or St Martin's in the fields Trafaglar Square. I found it very uncomfortable the first time I ever visited St Martin's in the fields and was amazed at the number of homeless people sleeping in the pews while visitors just carried on about their business. What are we saying here ? That these people have some right to be there regardless of the fact it is a Church or noble edifice ?

 

Yes! Of course! The church is supposed to be a haven for those with nothing or with no where to go. St. Martin's is exactly the sort of place, in the city square, where people are welcomed whatever their circumstances. Or am I wrong? Or is the Christian religion about allowing in only those who have, and shunning the have-nots after giving them a cup of tea. :P

 

I just don't understand why some Churches allow it to happen in the first place. We are living in more cautious times and security is so vital especially in a Church. What would any of u do if one of these types of people pulled a knife on u ? U just don't know.

 

I think St. Martin in the Fields have done this for a long while, perhaps decades. I guess a sense of trust has been built up between the staff and those who sleep in the church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regard to some of the earlier comments I made. I did not state that the druggies, down and outs were responsible for the Fire. I said it was well known that they were using the Church yard for some considerable time. We were told on local news that it was suspected Arson. And more recently it has been confirmed the Church will be rebuilt in the next two years time. Whether there are plans to replaced the Organ with another pipe remains to be seen. What I would say about people who are obviously in need of help of the Church the door is never shut in their face . This couldn't be more so then where the Church I play at is the case. Cups of Tea and may be sometimes money is offered to get rid of them. Some of them can be a nuisance as well as the aggressive types where we have had cases of our Congregation having their bags stolen or other items. The point is The Church is a haven for these people. Look at Westminster Cathedral a beggars paradise or St Martin's in the fields Trafaglar Square. I found it very uncomfortable the first time I ever visited St Martin's in the fields and was amazed at the number of homeless people sleeping in the pews while visitors just carried on about their business. What are we saying here ? That these people have some right to be there regardless of the fact it is a Church or noble edifice ? I just don't understand why some Churches allow it to happen in the first place. We are living in more cautious times and security is so vital especially in a Church. What would any of u do if one of these types of people pulled a knife on u ? U just don't know.

 

Hi

 

Matthew 25:36! Yes - the occaisonal vagrants that call on us can be a problem - but meeting the needs of the poor should be one of the things the church is about. And why should security be more of an issue in a church building than elsewhere?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Presumably the church will have had insurances? If this is the case, then why would they not have another ppe organ - albeit, probably, smaller.

 

David Wyld

 

 

Church fully insured. The organ was not great but still an awful thing to happen to the church. I was organist here for six months 2003-04.

 

My spies tell me that is was probably an electrical fire starting in the roof loft, possibly caused by the

lighting getting very hot due to the roof cavity being used for storage.

 

Sam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Church fully insured. The organ was not great but still an awful thing to happen to the church. I was organist here for six months 2003-04.

 

My spies tell me that is was probably an electrical fire starting in the roof loft, possibly caused by the

lighting getting very hot due to the roof cavity being used for storage.

 

Sam

I never played it in its format there but remember it well when it was in The Redeemer Hagley Road, it always seemed to be a fine instrument. I did hear many stories about its installation at Erdington, and reports about it were very mixed. The organ I play at Wordsley was rebuilt by Sheffield, who carried out the work at Erdington. We are now experiencing action problems and the whole organ is, slowly in stages, having these problems corrected.

I totally agree with the comments made about the Church being a place of Worship, the organ being an aid to this, not the beggining and end of everything. I cannot understand why churches often have instruments hostoricall restored, when they will be totally useless in the modern litturgy.

China has the best answer, they have a museum, when a local methodist church closed with a 3 manual N&B, my friend and colleague Paul Carr battled to save the organ and eventually it was moved to China where it lives on. Incidentally not far from where that church stood there is a redundant cinema, being used as a warehouse, under a mound of items there is in the pit a 3 manual Christie console the pipework being safe and intact for the time being in 2 chambers high in the cinema. We tried to acquire this organ for China, but the asking price for it was unrealistic. Lets hope it doesnt get vandalised.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...