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I tune at least three N&L organs around Shropshire (two not in original state) and I know they were a Walsall based firm, is there anyone out there that might have more information? They were at the time as good as Harrison, Willis and Walker - it's a shame they died out when they did.

 

Any input would be great.

 

Thanks

 

JT

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I tune at least three N&L organs around Shropshire (two not in original state) and I know they were a Walsall based firm, is there anyone out there that might have more information? They were at the time as good as Harrison, Willis and Walker - it's a shame they died out when they did.

 

Any input would be great.

 

Thanks

 

JT

 

They supplied materials, bellows, weights and pipes etc. to Nicholas T. Pearce in New Zealand from around 1900s, but thats about all I know of them. Wish I could help more.

 

JA

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I tune at least three N&L organs around Shropshire (two not in original state) and I know they were a Walsall based firm, is there anyone out there that might have more information? They were at the time as good as Harrison, Willis and Walker - it's a shame they died out when they did.

 

Any input would be great.

 

Thanks

 

JT

 

Hi

 

As always, NPOR is a good place to start - http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/ESearch...h&firm=1541 has the following:-

 

NICHOLSON & LORD (FIRM)

Floruit: 1878D-1938D

Located: Walsall

Trade: ob

Charles Henry NICHOLSON & E. LORD; registered as Ltd company 1919 with directors D.L.Cameron & LtGen Sir A.T.Sloggett

 

Addresses used by this firm

Address From To

Vicarage Pl,Walsall[variously 19 &/or 20 from1900] 1878D 1938D

Bloxwich Rd, Walsall (additional) 1919

 

Titles used by this firm

Nicholson & Son 1862D

Nicholson & Lord 1878D

Nicholson & Lord (Walsall) Ltd 1919-1950c

 

References for the information above

 

O&C 1898/1904 ads

Trade Directories: Slater Staffordshire 1862; PO Birmingham 1878-79; Kelly Staffordshire 1878/80/83-84/86/88/92/96/1900/08/12/16/21/24/32/36; Hulley Birmingham 1881

Musical Opinion 1919 /06, No.501 - registration as limited company

Musical Opinion 1920 /06 (for sale)

 

Cross references for this firm

 

Bird, W.J. - acquired by (in c.1951)

 

It's also worth entering "Nicholson" and "Lord" as seperate searches in the DBOB tab - you'll find more info about the partners.

 

Elvin's "Pipes and Actions" also has a couple of pages about the firm.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I tune at least three N&L organs around Shropshire (two not in original state) and I know they were a Walsall based firm, is there anyone out there that might have more information? They were at the time as good as Harrison, Willis and Walker - it's a shame they died out when they did.

 

Any input would be great.

 

Thanks

 

JT

The ones I've played by them were Madeley (gone?), Ironbridge, Ketley, St John Wolverhampton. I wouldn't have rated them as premier league builders, but its 100 years since I played one, might think different now?

 

R.

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The ones I've played by them were Madeley (gone?), Ironbridge, Ketley, St John Wolverhampton. I wouldn't have rated them as premier league builders, but its 100 years since I played one, might think different now?

 

R.

 

 

We look after the ones at Ironbridge, Ketley (Ketley being a church who have not included the organ is the scheme of thigns to come) and the reeds are very good. I find them more interesting insturments than the other builders I have mentioned save Willis.

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We look after the ones at Ironbridge, Ketley (Ketley being a church who have not included the organ is the scheme of thigns to come) and the reeds are very good. I find them more interesting insturments than the other builders I have mentioned save Willis.

 

Holy Trinity, Dawley (in the same part of Shropshire) is/was also by them. For some reason, the Daniels men who recently worked on it kept ascribing it to Nicholsons of Worcester! I agree that Nicholson & Lord's work is of interest. I have a large amount of it here since I bought the remains of their show job (St.Paul's Walsall) about ten years ago. I have kept the Great chorus virtually exactly as it was - a fine sound up to III Quint Mixture, with healthy but not overscaled Twelfth and Fifteenth. The casework was excellent too - though to be honest I never saw it erected - plentiful carved and pierced panels of solid oak. Not a bit of plywood anywhere!

 

At a Shropshire Organists' Association meeting at Dawley around 1980 the organist of HT was bemoaning his instrument with its few and fairly cumbersome controls; we had to convince him just how splendid an instrument it really was, tonally speaking. If you live with something for a long while you can take good features for granted.

 

By contrast early John Nicholson (Worcester) instruments were well-made but not terribly successful to my ears. Poorer flutes IMHO and choruses without that vital cohesion and ring. I believe that the two Nicholson firms were related in some way.

 

Thinks: Isn't the large four-decker at Walsall Town Hall mostly by N&L? [Not in good order last time I heard/played it.]

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I believe that the two Nicholson firms were related in some way.

 

Hi

 

Take a look at the DBOB tab on NPOR - enter "Nicholson" and take a look - there have been several Nicholsons working as organ builders. Elvin also has some info in "North Country Organ Builders". there were Nicholsons in Rochdale, Bradford & Lincoln - IIRC, the Worcester firm descended from the Bradford Nicholsons. It makes attributing Nicholson organs to the correct builder a little difficult at times!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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This is particularly interesting in that the Celeste clearly has to beat with a Keraulophon. Is that a common feature? I have not come across it before.

 

Barry Williams

 

It's possible that the Celeste may be a substitution for a Diapason. I completed the latest NPOR survey. The console certainly showed evidence of tonal changes. The organist later confirmed that the Pedal extension and replacement of the Gt Dulciana with a 15th had taken place during his tenure. However, he did not know if the Sw Celeste and 8ve coupler were original or not.

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Thinks: Isn't the large four-decker at Walsall Town Hall mostly by N&L? [Not in good order last time I heard/played it.]

 

The Walsall town hall organ is indeed originally by N&L. A recording of the organ played by the then borough organist, Harold Britton, is available - "Organ Extravaganza" on the ASV label. It's a nice sounding organ, but I can't help thinking that the addition of a Tibia section (in the 1980's) is rather incongruous.

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Re Holy Trinity Dawley:

 

My uncle, Percy Corbett was organist for over 60 years at the church. It would undoubtedly be him that you saw during the organists association meeting. The organ was a fine instrument and sounded excellent and very balanced from the nave, more so than from the organ loft. The sound was no doubt helped by the fact that the organ was situated on a balcony at the rear of the church and spoke unabated down the nave. Dawley was a fine example of how a committed organist and choirmaster could produce good results. The choir in their day were good for a church of this size. Some of the choir would be ringing the bells behind the organ before the service, throw on their cassocks and join the choir. It was a precision operation!

 

Percy always wanted a Trumpet on the great - he never got it. Maybe the fact that he wanted more controls for the organ reflected the amount of accompanying work he did with the choir. He typified what a good all round church organist should be, competent in all disciplines required and was a natural improviser. I haven’t heard the organ since the large fire at the church and do not know whether since the rebuild its tonal qualities have been affected or how much damage was caused. Percy Corbett died in 2000. I remember being told about when he took the choir to Hereford Cathedral how he enjoyed checking out the full organ capabilities (several times) during practise and was asked to 'quieten down' by cathedral officials. For all the intellectual debate on this website, it is nice sometimes to let rip on the organ or am I missing the point?

 

My grandad and several other family members throughout the years were members of the choir. I suppose when we all look back and see what got us interested in the organ, you can pinpoint certain events. I think that sitting by Percy at the console of the organ as a 6 or 7 year old during the service and then being allowed to play the instrument after the service was hugely influential in increasing my appetite for the instrument. Indeed it was probably more exciting to me then than going to the console of a cathedral organ would be now.

 

I'll remove my rose tinted spectacles now..................!

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Re Holy Trinity Dawley:

 

My uncle, Percy Corbett was organist for over 60 years at the church. It would undoubtedly be him that you saw during the organists association meeting. The organ was a fine instrument and sounded excellent and very balanced from the nave, more so than from the organ loft. The sound was no doubt helped by the fact that the organ was situated on a balcony at the rear of the church and spoke unabated down the nave. Dawley was a fine example of how a committed organist and choirmaster could produce good results. The choir in their day were good for a church of this size. Some of the choir would be ringing the bells behind the organ before the service, throw on their cassocks and join the choir. It was a precision operation!

 

Percy always wanted a Trumpet on the great - he never got it. Maybe the fact that he wanted more controls for the organ reflected the amount of accompanying work he did with the choir. He typified what a good all round church organist should be, competent in all disciplines required and was a natural improviser. I haven’t heard the organ since the large fire at the church and do not know whether since the rebuild its tonal qualities have been affected or how much damage was caused. Percy Corbett died in 2000. I remember being told about when he took the choir to Hereford Cathedral how he enjoyed checking out the full organ capabilities (several times) during practise and was asked to 'quieten down' by cathedral officials. For all the intellectual debate on this website, it is nice sometimes to let rip on the organ or am I missing the point?

 

My grandad and several other family members throughout the years were members of the choir. I suppose when we all look back and see what got us interested in the organ, you can pinpoint certain events. I think that sitting by Percy at the console of the organ as a 6 or 7 year old during the service and then being allowed to play the instrument after the service was hugely influential in increasing my appetite for the instrument. Indeed it was probably more exciting to me then than going to the console of a cathedral organ would be now.

 

I'll remove my rose tinted spectacles now..................!

 

 

It was indeed Percy Corbett that I referred to at Dawley, I knew him reasonably well through the Shropshire Association. Nothing you say above surprises me. He was a parish church D.O.M of 'the old school' - I am sorry to hear of his demise.

 

As to whether large organs should ever be played in the grand manner during the hours of daylight (vergers notwithstanding) my views are the same as yours. Frequently visitors are glad to hear an instrument and surely it is one of the perks of those who offer unpaid music to cathedrals that they should get to lay hands upon the beast! This is quite different, of course, to someone learning pieces (particularly discordant ones) at fff in public. I'm afraid to say that most of us have heard this sort of thing more than once.

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Re Holy Trinity Dawley:

 

My uncle, Percy Corbett was organist for over 60 years at the church. It would undoubtedly be him that you saw during the organists association meeting. The organ was a fine instrument and sounded excellent and very balanced from the nave, more so than from the organ loft. The sound was no doubt helped by the fact that the organ was situated on a balcony at the rear of the church and spoke unabated down the nave. Dawley was a fine example of how a committed organist and choirmaster could produce good results. The choir in their day were good for a church of this size. Some of the choir would be ringing the bells behind the organ before the service, throw on their cassocks and join the choir. It was a precision operation!

 

Percy always wanted a Trumpet on the great - he never got it. Maybe the fact that he wanted more controls for the organ reflected the amount of accompanying work he did with the choir. He typified what a good all round church organist should be, competent in all disciplines required and was a natural improviser. I haven’t heard the organ since the large fire at the church and do not know whether since the rebuild its tonal qualities have been affected or how much damage was caused. Percy Corbett died in 2000. I remember being told about when he took the choir to Hereford Cathedral how he enjoyed checking out the full organ capabilities (several times) during practise and was asked to 'quieten down' by cathedral officials. For all the intellectual debate on this website, it is nice sometimes to let rip on the organ or am I missing the point?

 

My grandad and several other family members throughout the years were members of the choir. I suppose when we all look back and see what got us interested in the organ, you can pinpoint certain events. I think that sitting by Percy at the console of the organ as a 6 or 7 year old during the service and then being allowed to play the instrument after the service was hugely influential in increasing my appetite for the instrument. Indeed it was probably more exciting to me then than going to the console of a cathedral organ would be now.

 

I'll remove my rose tinted spectacles now..................!

I was in the Shrewsbury Organists' association in the 1960's and I too remember Percy Corbett. I can't say I knew him well, although I've certainly heard him in action. I was sorry to learn of his death. It's interesting to read what you say about how your sitting with him at the console influenced you as a boy. In my case I can clearly remember seeing a friend of my father's playing the organ after my sister's baptism (I was four) and from then on I was hooked!

 

R.

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I tune at least three N&L organs around Shropshire

Do they have chromatic soundboard layouts, like a Kirtland and Jardine, or is it just the one at Christ Church, Stone (extended by Laycock and Bannister in the 1960's, not used regularly)?

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Do they have chromatic soundboard layouts, like a Kirtland and Jardine, or is it just the one at Christ Church, Stone (extended by Laycock and Bannister in the 1960's, not used regularly)?

 

 

I can't speak for the smaller organs, but the N&L Swell and Great soundboards at St.Paul's Walsall were strictly C and C sharp sides - indeed a separate chest for each (i.e. two soundboards per manual), with the stop action supported between them operating slides both sides.

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Do they have chromatic soundboard layouts, like a Kirtland and Jardine, or is it just the one at Christ Church, Stone (extended by Laycock and Bannister in the 1960's, not used regularly)?

 

 

Firstly many thanks for all the info about N&L so far! Yes Nicholson & Lord organs have chromatic soundboard layouts, but also in sides as well. (The 1890's organ I tune at Ironbridge (the one with a Clarion 4' on the swell and the Gamba on the Great that goes down to bottom C) has the Great in chromatic form and in sides for the Swell.) There are 10 on the sharp side if being of chromatic layout.

 

Another feature of Nicholson & Lord organs is the impost level profile.

 

All best

 

JT

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The ones I've played by them were Madeley (gone?), Ironbridge, Ketley, St John Wolverhampton. I wouldn't have rated them as premier league builders, but its 100 years since I played one, might think different now?

 

R.

 

Madeley is still in situ, although it has been replaced by a Makin Toaster, the speakers of which are in the pipeorgan case. The displaced pipes are stored in the roof of the church for such time as the organ is restored. I knew tis organ after it had been restored by an obscure firm, Fisk comes to mind but I stand to be corrected. Being located in a gallery it produced a nice sound but was inadequate for the building. It was replaced when the church became "Happy clappy".

 

Nicholson and Lord produced good solid instruments which served the churches well. Their opus magnum was Walsall Town Hall.

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Madeley is still in situ, although it has been replaced by a Makin Toaster, the speakers of which are in the pipeorgan case. The displaced pipes are stored in the roof of the church for such time as the organ is restored. I knew tis organ after it had been restored by an obscure firm, Fisk comes to mind but I stand to be corrected. Being located in a gallery it produced a nice sound but was inadequate for the building. It was replaced when the church became "Happy clappy".

 

Nicholson and Lord produced good solid instruments which served the churches well. Their opus magnum was Walsall Town Hall.

 

Thanks for that basdav. I'm pleased to learn that this organ at least has the potential to be used again. I was organist there briefly in 1968 before moving away, and one Saturday when I went to practise someone had pulled a load of the pipes out of the Great soundboard. Guess how the next couple of hours were spent? As I remember it was an OK organ, made some good sounds and I enjoyed playing it. In those days the church had a conventional choir and was old-fashioned 'low church'. 'Happy clappy' isn't really my scene!

 

It would be interesting to try a N & L organ after all this time. I've found that going back to play an organ many years later that I hear all sorts of things I wasn't aware of earlier and my perception of it changes. I wonder if it's the fallibility of memory or do we alter what we listen for over the long term?

 

R.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are several In Shropshire, Hodnet is interesting as it has a detached console situated between the 2 cases, perhaps a more typical example of their works is Childs Ercall details of both are on NPOR.

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  • 1 year later...

There is one Nicholson & Lord in New Zealand (North Island) that is fully attributed to them. There was an organbuilder in the South Island (1905-1930) who I suspect imported at least one complete N&L organ and slapped his nameplate on it, (he did that with at least five G&D's), as well as parts for other organs he 'enlarged'. I have looked in one of the soundboards on one of the South Island jobs (Knox Presbyterian Christchurch) and found the name T.W. Davenport May 1914, an employee of N&L? They provided a three manual pneumatic console for this job, complete with their nameplate - no false advertising on this job!- however the purses on the coupler units do not line up fully with the mushroom dollies and so the repetition is not as fast as I would like it to be.

CTT

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There is one Nicholson & Lord in New Zealand (North Island) that is fully attributed to them. There was an organbuilder in the South Island (1905-1930) who I suspect imported at least one complete N&L organ and slapped his nameplate on it, (he did that with at least five G&D's), as well as parts for other organs he 'enlarged'. I have looked in one of the soundboards on one of the South Island jobs (Knox Presbyterian Christchurch) and found the name T.W. Davenport May 1914, an employee of N&L? They provided a three manual pneumatic console for this job, complete with their nameplate - no false advertising on this job!- however the purses on the coupler units do not line up fully with the mushroom dollies and so the repetition is not as fast as I would like it to be.

CTT

 

Hi

 

There's no record of any organ builder named Davenport in te Dictionary of British Organ Builders - but that's not necessarily proof that he didn't work for N&L.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

There's no record of any organ builder named Davenport in te Dictionary of British Organ Builders - but that's not necessarily proof that he didn't work for N&L.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Thanks, so I have to trace the name via the old fashioned methods, 1911 census (depending on the price to order them), electoral rolls, and other genealogical devices.

I read on one website that Nicholson & Co (Worcester) are the successors to Nicholson & Lords, however I cannot confirm that anywhere else nor does Nicholson & Co website mention the fact either. Can anyone provide a definitive answer?

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Thanks, so I have to trace the name via the old fashioned methods, 1911 census (depending on the price to order them), electoral rolls, and other genealogical devices.

I read on one website that Nicholson & Co (Worcester) are the successors to Nicholson & Lords, however I cannot confirm that anywhere else nor does Nicholson & Co website mention the fact either. Can anyone provide a definitive answer?

 

Hi

 

I don't think so. There have beena number of Nicholsons involved in organ building - just take a look at DBOB! The current firm are, IIRC, descended from Nicholson of Bradford.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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  • 6 years later...

Please forgive my exhuming an old thread, but within the last year I have become acquainted with a fine instrument by this firm, at All Saint's Church in Newbridge-on-Wye. The Swell Bourdon and Keraulophon have been disabled (you can't even pull out the drawstops), but the rest is working pretty well. Earlier in the thread, someone remarked on the somewhat crude controls - this is certainly true of this organ, for the key action is pretty heavy, and quite deep; the pedal action is not particularly easy either. However, the sound of the instrument does more than compensate for these shortcomings. The four 8fts on the Great do not seem wasteful in the slightest, and offer a wide range of colour. The Open Diapason on the Great is rich and round, but also sings nicely; the Diapason chorus on the Great has power and colour without either shreaking or being too heavy. The pairing of Salicional and Voix Celeste on the Swell is ravishing, and the Full Swell is a pleasing if not thrilling sound. It is definitely worth playing if you find yourself in the area.

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