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Of Bared Breasts And Losing One's Organ


MusingMuso
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Linda Lucardy....ooops.....Lucinda Lambton (I was diverted by the baring of breasts), in that delightfully eccentric series on the TV, found quite a few organs in strange places. I believe one of them was in the Great Eastern Hotel in London, which if I recall, is near Paddington Station.

 

When I lived in London, I would sometimes have to go to an office not far from Buckingham Palace, and en route, I would pass what I believe is the Jamaican Embassy. Peering through the windows and being nosey, as one tends to do when not better employed, I noticed that there was a pipe-organ inside.

 

Then there are all those Masonic organs; which I've never really understood. Why do the Masons need organs, I wonder?

 

Of course there are many organs in houses, and some houses built around organs: perhaps even an organ shed or two.

 

There are pipe organs in pubs (the Plough Inn Gt Munden being one such, until recently....the Compton now in storage), at least one above a pub in Manchester.

 

There are organs on board ships, and of course, organs in the middle of fairground rides, as can be heard at Blackpool.

 

There are quite a few theatre organs in converted garages, and at least one Victorian terrace cellar near Manchester, where there is a Compton instrument.

 

I even knew of an antiques warehouse with a large 3-manual instrument, consisting of various bits of old organs, including the bulk of a substantial Forster & Andrews instrument.

 

Then there was Reginald Foort's "touring organ" which broke into parts, and could be transhipped by rail to various locations, before being assembled; except that British Rail had a habit of leaving parts of the organ in remote sidings and losing track of them, with disastrous consequences for the travelling road-show.

 

Geroge Paxman also had a touring organ built by Harrison & Harrison, which I believe formed the basis for the organ that was put up for sale on e-bay, and which I think is still in a school in Durham.

 

Then there are blow-up organs, inside blow-up churches which serve as wedding chapels, but they don't actually work.

 

I'm looking forward to the day I finally retire, when I aim to place a model organ inside a bottle. If they can get the Cutty Sark in one, a 32ft front should be easy!

 

Finally, an interesting fact.....both the Paxman organ and the Foort touring organ, both sat side-by-side for a while, in storage at the Queen's Hall, Harrogate, prior to being sold and removed by their new owners.

 

I've actually been overtaken by an organ, pulled by an old Scammell tractor-unit, on the way to some fairground gig or other.

 

Perhaps the most bizzare of all, is the somewhat decrepit "stalactite organ" in a cave in America, which has a conventional console, and soft hammers which strike the stalactites to create musical sounds.

 

As for organs in department stores, the most famous is the Wanamaker Organ, Philadelphia, but it is by no means alone.

A similar sort of thing is to be found in the "Habitat Shop" on Rgent street, London.

 

Do any of us know other examples?

 

 

 

MM

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Guest Patrick Coleman

Nearly every large building in this area has at least one rank of pipes lurking somewhere in it, having been saved from the skip by Lyndon our organist. I guess that three or four large and very interesting, if eclectic, instruments could be constructed if all were brought together.

 

I'm sure this is not the only area to have a Lyndon! :lol:

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When I lived in London, I would sometimes have to go to an office not far from Buckingham Palace, and en route, I would pass what I believe is the Jamaican Embassy. Peering through the windows and being nosey, as one tends to do when not better employed, I noticed that there was a pipe-organ inside.

 

MM

 

No 1 Prince Consort Road, now the Jamaican High Commission, was built in 1877 and was originally the home of Col. W T Makins MP, chairman of the Cadogan and Hans Place estate in Chelsea, which probably accounts for the 'Pont Street Dutch' style of the building.

 

The little organ in the entrance hall is thought to have been originally by Cavaillé-Coll's foreman, August Gern, who set up business in London after erecting one of his master's instruments in the nearby Carmelite Church.

 

The organ was badly neglected and vandalised over the years and all that remains of Gern's work is the case and tin front pipes. It was a condition of the High Commisison's lease that the organ should be made playable again and Peter Conacher & Co installed a small IIP/12 second-hand Willis organ of 3 straight ranks (Salicional 8, Gemshorn 4 and Principal 2) plus extended Gedackt, all on direct electric action.

 

About 15 years ago I had the unusual experience of playing the organ for Jamaican Independence Day - a very jolly occasion, with steel bands and rum cocktails flowing freely - and a very soulful singing of the Jamaican national anthem which completely overwhelmed the organ accompaniment.

 

JS

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Nearly every large building in this area has at least one rank of pipes lurking somewhere in it, having been saved from the skip by Lyndon our organist. I guess that three or four large and very interesting, if eclectic, instruments could be constructed if all were brought together.

 

I'm sure this is not the only area to have a Lyndon! :lol:

 

 

Patrick, I suggest you get Lyndon down to St James' Newport Road Cardiff. It's for sale (the entire church, not just the organ!).

 

Peter

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"Then there are all those Masonic organs; which I've never really understood. Why do the Masons need organs"

 

 

 

"The presence of a pipe organ in English masonic lodges still represents to many freemasons a

sine qua non in terms of lodge furnishings, and the position of lodge organist remains a prized

one. However, while the tradition of appointing a lodge organist flourishes, the heyday of the

pipe organ in English masonic lodges (c.1850-c.1950) is long gone and pipe organs have been

steadily disappearing from lodges, to be replaced by an electronic keyboard, or even just a CD

player; sic transit gloria mundi. Of course, English masonic lodges are responsible only to

themselves for the management of their estate and are free to make their own decisions, but a

serious consequence of this shifting musical landscape of disappearing pipe organs is that in

many cases the documentary history of an instrument disappears with it. Thus the record of a

significant slice of English masonic heritage, and of England’s musical history, is steadily

being eroded and lost to posteperity,

here

this includes a few photos

Regards

Peter

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No 1 Prince Consort Road, now the Jamaican High Commission, was built in 1877 and was originally the home of Col. W T Makins MP, chairman of the Cadogan and Hans Place estate in Chelsea, which probably accounts for the 'Pont Street Dutch' style of the building.

 

The little organ in the entrance hall is thought to have been originally by Cavaillé-Coll's foreman, August Gern, who set up business in London after erecting one of his master's instruments in the nearby Carmelite Church.

 

The organ was badly neglected and vandalised over the years and all that remains of Gern's work is the case and tin front pipes. It was a condition of the High Commisison's lease that the organ should be made playable again and Peter Conacher & Co installed a small IIP/12 second-hand Willis organ of 3 straight ranks (Salicional 8, Gemshorn 4 and Principal 2) plus extended Gedackt, all on direct electric action.

 

About 15 years ago I had the unusual experience of playing the organ for Jamaican Independence Day - a very jolly occasion, with steel bands and rum cocktails flowing freely - and a very soulful singing of the Jamaican national anthem which completely overwhelmed the organ accompaniment.

 

JS

 

 

=================

 

 

That's wonderful.....thank you!

 

It has solved a mystery for me. What a pity it isn't all original.

 

MM

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You were overtaken by a vintage truck with an organ on the back!!! I'm assuming you were walking :D

 

 

====================

 

 

Off-topic of course, but I was actually stationary on a dual carriageway when this occurred, and the Scammel trundled past at about the speed of an elderly cyclist on steroids.

 

How things change!

 

I was driving a new Leyland-Daf this week, with automatic transmission, and 500bhp. With an all up weight of 44 tonnes, it never once dropped below 56mph up the steepest motorway hills!

 

Of course, that has a downside........£268 worth of diesel!!!!!!!!!!!! :o

 

MM

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====================

Off-topic of course, but I was actually stationary on a dual carriageway when this occurred, and the Scammel trundled past at about the speed of an elderly cyclist on steroids.

 

How things change!

 

I was driving a new Leyland-Daf this week, with automatic transmission, and 500bhp. With an all up weight of 44 tonnes, it never once dropped below 56mph up the steepest motorway hills!

 

Of course, that has a downside........£268 worth of diesel!!!!!!!!!!!! :o

 

MM

... And presumably overtaking similar monsters in the middle lane with the speed differential of an elderly cyclist on steroids! :D

JC

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Guest Barry Oakley
"Then there are all those Masonic organs; which I've never really understood. Why do the Masons need organs"

 

"The presence of a pipe organ in English masonic lodges still represents to many freemasons a

sine qua non in terms of lodge furnishings, and the position of lodge organist remains a prized

one. However, while the tradition of appointing a lodge organist flourishes, the heyday of the

pipe organ in English masonic lodges (c.1850-c.1950) is long gone and pipe organs have been

steadily disappearing from lodges, to be replaced by an electronic keyboard, or even just a CD

player; sic transit gloria mundi. Of course, English masonic lodges are responsible only to

themselves for the management of their estate and are free to make their own decisions, but a

serious consequence of this shifting musical landscape of disappearing pipe organs is that in

many cases the documentary history of an instrument disappears with it. Thus the record of a

significant slice of English masonic heritage, and of England’s musical history, is steadily

being eroded and lost to posteperity,

here

this includes a few photos

Regards

Peter

 

Music plays an important part in most lodge meetings and it's usually provided by an organ of sorts. Freemasons' Hall, London, has an organ by Willis 3 in the main temple and there are organs in several of the Hall's other lodge rooms. Much emphasis is placed on lodge harmony and music provides an ideal way of achieving it. Where my lodge meets in Dore, Sheffield, there is an unplayable two-manual organ by Norman & Beard built in 1919 and originally purchased new by a man named Frood for £250, the founder of the well-known company, Ferodo. And in the main Masonic hall in Sheffield there are two, almost identical two-manual organs built circa 1965 by Conacher during the company's last days.

 

At least two Masonic halls in Hull have, as perhaps you would expect, organs by Forster & Andrews and which I believe are still used.

 

The cost of restoring our Norman & Beard "Symphony Organ" at Dore was prohibitive and so we opted for a Viscount toaster which is played very regularly and has given excellent service for over 20 years. But at least it's better than a keyboard.

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... And presumably overtaking similar monsters in the middle lane with the speed differential of an elderly cyclist on steroids! :o

JC

 

 

=======================

 

 

You can blame the EU for that!

 

On the other hand, would you want 44 tonnes bearing down on you from behind, travelling at 80mph downhill? :D

 

Huh?

 

MM

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Music plays an important part in most lodge meetings and it's usually provided by an organ of sorts. Freemasons' Hall, London, has an organ by Willis 3 in the main temple and there are organs in several of the Hall's other lodge rooms.

Some clarification of this is needed. The 3-manual Willis III in the Grand Temple and the Robert & William Gray of c1796 (restored by Michael Broadway last year) in Lodge Room 3 are the only remaining pipe organs in the building; there were Willis organs in two other Lodge Rooms, but these have been removed. The other eighteen (?) Lodge Rooms of varying sizes have electronic organs, large and small, of variable quality.

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Guest Barry Williams
Some clarification of this is needed. The 3-manual Willis III in the Grand Temple and the Robert & William Gray of c1796 (restored by Michael Broadway last year) in Lodge Room 3 are the only remaining pipe organs in the building; there were Willis organs in two other Lodge Rooms, but these have been removed. The other eighteen (?) Lodge Rooms of varying sizes have electronic organs, large and small, of variable quality.

 

 

One of the smaller Willis III instruments was a truly remarkable multum in parvo design. Do you know what happened to it please?

 

Barry Williams

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