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The Bishop Organ Of Tokyo


Pierre Lauwers
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The website of its dutch restorator provides the info:

 

http://www.frfeenstra.nl/tokyo.htm

 

"Bishop bouwde in 1877 een tweemanualig instrument in Westborne Park Baptist Church te Londen. Het was geplaatst op een balustrade in separate kassen, links en rechts van een venster in de westwand. Al in 1884 kwam er een uitbreiding met een derde manuaal. In 1908 werd het instrument verkocht aan de Cricklewood Baptist Church te Londen, waar het op een balustrade in een nis werd geplaatst. In 1995 werd het vanwege kerksluiting door ons aangekocht. "

(Extract from the page)

 

So the organ was build 1877 with two manuals for the Westborne Park Baptist church in London

with a divided case (both sides of a window).

In 1884 a third manual was added.

In 1908 the organ was moved to Cricklewood Baptist church, London.

This church closed 1995, and the dutch builder bought the organ.

He restored it and sold it to the japanese; the organ was re-erected in a case

that hosted a Forster & Andrew organ previously.

Britain no more export roadsters, but rather ancient organs!

 

Pierre

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Thank you very much for that link.

 

I was the organist responsible for Feenstra purchasing from us that instrument's "sister" organ, a 3 manual Bishop of 1877 at Christ Church Sparkbrook (Birmingham) following the famous tornado which stripped the roof from the organ chamber and led to the church's eventual demolition (plans are afoot to rebuild the church, though it would be inapprorpiate for the replacement to have a pipe organ). I was very impressed with their communication and enthusiasm and rapid removal and made a short recording of it in situ (minus the roof, and me having to play in hard hat) before its removal. Feenstra evidently specialises in buying fine but redundant Victorian British oregans and transplanting them to new homes on the continent and beyond. A little homework with the modern day Bishops confirmed the two organs were virtually consecutive opus numbers and built at the same time.

 

It appears that Feenstras have as yet to find a buyer, I hope it finds a new home before long.

 

http://www.frfeenstra.nl/vb2.htm

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Thank you very much for that link.

 

I was the organist responsible for Feenstra purchasing from us that instrument's "sister" organ, a 3 manual Bishop of 1877 at Christ Church Sparkbrook (Birmingham) following the famous tornado which stripped the roof from the organ chamber and led to the church's eventual demolition (plans are afoot to rebuild the church, though it would be inapprorpiate for the replacement to have a pipe organ).

 

"Inappropriate"?

 

How So?

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Perhaps it's 'inappropriate' to rebuild the church. :angry:

 

Well, perhaps having been both Organist and Treasurer at the time the tornado took the roof off, I should explain what I meant when I said a replacement organ would be inappropriate for the new church.

 

The land the church was built on was originally given by a member of the Lloyd family (of banking fame) in the second half of the 19th century, to establish a church that would serve and be a witness to the local community. The Lloyd family home was at the time a grand mansion in Farm Park (still standing, and now used as council offices). From its beginnings the church has been evangelical in tradition.

 

It happens to be in one of the poorest wards in the city and the Diocese, and the population is today predominantly Muslim Mirpuri Parkistani. On various occasions in the past there have been suggestions that it might be closed due to the combination of lack of funds (a small, not particularly affluent congregation with a large, expensive to maintain building) and shrinking member base (as the local population becomdes increasingly Mirpuri). In fact, during the 1960s there was a serious suggestion to turn the old Bishop into a 2 manual electric action extention organ, but shortage of funds and the possibility that the building might be demolished mercifully scuppered the idea.

 

In the late 1990s the deteriorating condition of the building, coupled with the acknowledgement that an undistinguished, cold, unwelcoming and expensive-to-maintain building meant that serious consideration was given to replacing the building with something more appropriate to the needs of the present congretation, but that would also function as a community centre better meeting the purposes for which the land was originally given. The congregation was unanimous that it would be more honouring to the original benefactor, if when the first building had outlived its purpose, it was replaced by something more appropriate for the modern church's mission, rather than be saddled with an unwelcoming, expensive building that didn't serve the local community and distracted our priorities. At the end of the day, the mission of the church is to glorify God in the world and bring others into His kingdom, not to try to rescue dilapidated Victorian buildings, keep organs going, create work for organ builders or give jobs to us organists, even if that is an important aspect of liturgy and worship for many of us.

 

The tornado has been a blessing in disguise therefore; for safety and economic reasons the old building had to be demolished (safety, as the roof was in a periolous condition, economic, because aside from the tornado, there were major structural problems that would need addressing before too long, that would not be covered under insurance, and since finding a few £million to put these right was well beyond the scope of the congregation), so it made no sense to spend insurance money on a new roof only to demolish the church at a later stage.

 

As for the question of the organ, we only used it for hymns, and did not even sing hymns every week. Given the rarity of organists in the area, plus hymn singing is not a strong part of this particular church's tradition, it makes no sense to invest scarce building funds in a pipe organ; I doubt even an electronic organ would get played. I wouldn't suggest to an African Caribbean Pentecostal church meeting in a Portacabin somewhere that their priority should be a new pipe organ (many of our congregation are African Caribbean in any case). Where an organ is going to be loved, cherished, looked after and played to the greater glory of God then it has a vital role in the church's ministry, but I hope I have made a case for saying that not every Anglican church needs a pipe organ...

 

As for whether it is inappropriate to rebuild the church, the area is crying out for a Christian witness, and the combination of land, funds and a willing and enthusiastic congregation mean that I sincerely hope and pray the church building will be replaced before too long. Even now, the church is very much alive and meeting in the hall of a local school. But I should close with the Archdeacon's wry comment that in all cases he had come across where a church building had been destroyed (usually around here by arson), and the church had been forced to relocate to a hall or school, the congregation had grown as a result. After all, the church is technically not a building but a collection of people, so in some ways that shouldn't be a surprise.

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Guest Barry Williams

"Where an organ is going to be loved, cherished, looked after and played to the greater glory of God then it has a vital role in the church's ministry, but I hope I have made a case for saying that not every Anglican church needs a pipe organ..."

 

Well stated. In the Church of England the DAC is obliged to give advice on the basis that the parish church is the centre of worhsip and mission. (Section 1 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure.)

 

Barry Williams

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