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John Robinson
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Did anyone see tonight's programme from St George's Hall, Liverpool?

 

A young man who works for Willis was featured, having brought along some photographs of the organ pipes in 'storage' along with an original Willis nicking knife. (As an aside, would two of these implements be known as 'a pair of knickers'?)

 

His name wasn't mentioned. Did anyone recognise him? (Dr Wylde?)

 

John

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Did anyone see tonight's programme from St George's Hall, Liverpool?

 

A young man who works for Willis was featured, having brought along some photographs of the organ pipes in 'storage' along with an original Willis nicking knife. (As an aside, would two of these implements be known as 'a pair of knickers'?)

 

His name wasn't mentioned. Did anyone recognise him? (Dr Wylde?)

 

John

 

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

 

 

I saw it...."the pair of nickers" had belonged to Fr Willis apparently.

 

It was a lovely moment, but almost heart-stopping when they showed the photographic evidence of the damage done to the original organ-pipes when they were "stored" (scattered?) in the basement. (Do all Willis organs suffer this sort of vandalism? The same happened at the Ally Pally).

 

Anyway, next week's "Songs of Praise" (which I see is being edged into late afternoon by more bloody sports programmes and populist rap), is all about the organ in worship; which probably means that a few familiar characters may end up on the box.

 

What are the odds on Simon Lindley and Prof Ian Tracy popping in for a chat?

 

:P

 

MM

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

I saw it...."the pair of nickers" had belonged to Fr Willis apparently.

 

It was a lovely moment, but almost heart-stopping when they showed the photographic evidence of the damage done to the original organ-pipes when they were "stored" (scattered?) in the basement. (Do all Willis organs suffer this sort of vandalism? The same happened at the Ally Pally).

 

Anyway, next week's "Songs of Praise" (which I see is being edged into late afternoon by more bloody sports programmes and populist rap), is all about the organ in worship; which probably means that a few familiar characters may end up on the box.

 

What are the odds on Simon Lindley and Prof Ian Tracy popping in for a chat?

 

;)

 

MM

 

I think it's going to be a feature on young organists, particularly those at the Oundle/Oxbridge stage.

Anyway, why not Dr.Lindley or The Prof? They are both great ambassadors for our instrument.

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Did anyone see tonight's programme from St George's Hall, Liverpool?

 

A young man who works for Willis was featured, having brought along some photographs of the organ pipes in 'storage' along with an original Willis nicking knife. (As an aside, would two of these implements be known as 'a pair of knickers'?)

 

His name wasn't mentioned. Did anyone recognise him? (Dr Wylde?)

 

John

 

The young man is Jonathan Bowden, the finance director of Willis'. He has a very fine tenor voice too!

 

Peter

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

I saw it...."the pair of nickers" had belonged to Fr Willis apparently.

 

It was a lovely moment, but almost heart-stopping when they showed the photographic evidence of the damage done to the original organ-pipes when they were "stored" (scattered?) in the basement. (Do all Willis organs suffer this sort of vandalism? The same happened at the Ally Pally).

MM

 

The nicking tool is one of a set which we're told have all been in the firm since the first days - the handles are certainly VERY old and the largest of the tools has what we believe to be the original bit whereas the smallest may be a little like George Washington's Ax (sic).! The one which Michael Aspel was fondling is, we think, the one pictured in the famous photo of HW1 voicing a pipe, dressed in a rather smart light grey frock coat (him, not the pipe)!

 

Jonathan has been with the firm since 1998, first as Office Manager and then, after Peter Cobon's retirement, Financial Director - Stephen Bicknell once commented that "Jonathan could run a small country!". As Peter DeV. says, he also has a very fine Tenor voice and sings with the Phil Chorus in Liverpool (as well as doing quite a lot of solo things for various choirs in the area of late, including for the Prof. at the Cathedral in the Passions etc..). He was a Choral Scholar in Richard Marlow's choir at Trinity College Cambridge, where he gained his (second) degree in Music - first degree in "Business Stuff" from Aston.

 

It was decided that he would do the Roadshow thing as I was away for that weekend in Italy, but as he's far more photogenic than I.......... :blink:

 

I'm with MM when it comes to the heart-stopping moment in seeing the photographs of the damage done to the pipework from Georgy Hall - there are quite a few of these photos, all incredibly upsetting and even more so when you realise that that damage wasn't caused by anything to do with the War!

 

I'm also with Richard Astridge in his assertions that HW4 worked some small miracles with pipework - especially with restored stuff. The unfortunate reputation (given by others, for whatever reasons :blink: ) is somewhat defied by the realisation that virtually the whole of St. George's Hall organ was in that state, all restored and ALL voiced by HW4 or those working under him at that time. What we hear today (or rather if we were allowed to hear it) is what THEY did in restoring that pipework.

 

I'm sorry - I would have mentioned the fact that this was being broadcast if I'd remembered.

 

DW.

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Stephen Bicknell once commented that "Jonathan could run a small country!".

 

It was decided that he would do the Roadshow thing as I was away for that weekend in Italy, but as he's far more photogenic than I.......... :angry:

 

I'm with MM when it comes to the heart-stopping moment in seeing the photographs of the damage done to the pipework from Georgy Hall

 

DW.

 

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

 

 

I always say that a mid-life crisis only begins when the truth dawns that even your cat is more handsome.

 

The trick is to age disgracefully and outrageously, or at least to wear the sort of smile which makes people wonder what you've been up to.

 

To be honest, I've never really delved and probed, but in my 58 years, I had never known about the extent of the damage to the pipework at Georgy Hall. That's quite astonishing really, because I've heard (and played) that organ many times since the age of 14, and I remember well the days of Dr Caleb Jarvis.

 

It was thanks to Henry IV that I go to to see and play the Hill organ at Gt.George Street Congegational Church; even though the place was then redundant.

 

I'm not sure that I like the later additions to the organ (the Grand Chorus etc), but of the quality of what was there before, and obviously re-voiced/restored, there can be no doubt. It's a unique instrument; quite unlike any other Willis organ I know, and yet it, and the hall, were so very nearly lost when a lunatic council wanted to demolish the place and re-develop the area. ( Did they ever go to jail?)

 

Then came the terrible years of neglect and the closure of the building, and the sterling efforts of Prof Ian Tracy and David Wells, who brought the plight of the instrument to public attention, and probably saved the day.

 

What we see now is a marvellous epitaph to the dedication of so many, and Henry IV especially.

 

It's quite fascinating to look back now at the Liverpool IAO Congress (my first...1964 I think), and to recall being so amused by the wit of Henry IV and the pranks of Dr Reginald-Dixon; the latter then around 90 years of age. They were a different breed, and certainly not afraid of being strongly individualistic.

 

Like the organ at the Georgy Hall, they were "one offs".

 

MM

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Wasn't he the bloke who Whitlock said was "the naughty boy at any party" or something like that... ?

 

 

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

 

 

At risk of repeating myself from an earlier post, Dr Reginald-Dixon was indeed described as such by Percy Whitlock, and I know exactly what he meant. Everything he did was so full of enthusiasm and with that "teasing" sense of school-boy delight.

 

I cannot begin to explain how we sparked each other into life, despite something like a 75 year age-gap. He was the most wonderful fun.

 

Even at the age of 15, which I think I was at the time, the thing which so fascinated me was his extraordinary intelligence, which he wore very lightly.

 

For instance, we trudged along to hear a new organ by Rushworth & Dreaper, which although it had non-mechanical action so far as I recall, was nevertheless a neo-baroque design with a functional-display. (All very 1960's)

 

I still recall his insight, when he said, "I don't know of a Bach piece which really calls for a second-chorus. The texture of the music, like that found in the Brandenburgs, changes enough to make the idea redundant."

 

This was in 1964, when most organists were still playing Bach with crescendi and Tubas. He was so on the ball.

 

Then there was the playful side of his nature, such as when he approached the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

 

With a grovelling bow, he said, "My Lord......Mr Dixon"

 

It was the wink in my direction that set me off giggling uncontrollably, because just before, he'd said to me, "I think we now have to shake hands with someone very important."

 

Of course, everywhere he went, he would have in his mouth a huge Havanna cigar, and at just about every church, he would carefully stub it out on the stonework and shove it in his top-pocket for later. The moment he emerged, he would immediately be surrounded by a small cloud of blue-smoke.

 

Another priceless moment was him asking people to pass him their pudding if they couldn't manage it, and between us, we must have shovelled down half a dozen!

 

Dr Dixon was one of three people who had an immediate impact on me at that age; one of the other two being the writer J B Priestley, who used to eat Sunday "High Tea" in a farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales. I did the same, and to hear that wonderfully gruff, West Yorkshire voice commenting upon roast ham and farmhouse pies was to witness something a little bit special.

 

The third was Prof Sir Fred Hoyle, and this will probably astound most people on this board. My brother, cousin and myself, actually had a long conversation with the great man on the subject of "global warming" in....wait for it.....the year 1960, when I was all of eleven. The most telling phrase was the one which went "...the Earth is a self-regulating entity, and compensates for fluctuations of temparture in a variety of ways."

 

Of course, he didn't believe in "The big bang," so he may have been wrong; (he only invented the phrase) unless, of course, his steady-state theory is a precursor and successor to that particular event or series of events. (Discuss)

 

 

MM

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

I

 

Anyway, next week's "Songs of Praise" (which I see is being edged into late afternoon by more bloody sports programmes and populist rap), is all about the organ in worship; which probably means that a few familiar characters may end up on the box.

 

What are the odds on Simon Lindley and Prof Ian Tracy popping in for a chat?

 

;)

 

MM

 

 

I don't know, but I have it on extremely good authority that it includes Malcolm Archer playing the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer - a new composition entitled "Bach Goes To Blackpool" :angry:

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The Ally Pally pipes have been mentioned in this thread, and we have the pictures of the pipes presently stored in Liverpool at Willises. The condition is absolutely shocking, and most could never be used again.

No doubt this is the reason that restoration of the organ becomes an impossible dream as time goes on but who really cares ?

Colin Richell.

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I don't know, but I have it on extremely good authority that it includes Malcolm Archer playing the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer - a new composition entitled "Bach Goes To Blackpool" :angry:

 

 

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

 

 

Oh God!

 

Perhaps I'll watch "Question of sport" instead.

 

;)

 

MM

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I don't know, but I have it on extremely good authority that it includes Malcolm Archer playing the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer - a new composition entitled "Bach Goes To Blackpool" :angry:

 

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

 

 

On second thoughts, this could be historically informed.

 

The Wurlitzer family originated in Germany, and their musical-instrument making went back to at least the 17th century, as violin-makers. It is not inconceivable that Bach may have scraped out a tune on a Wurlitzer.

 

Not many people know this, but Wurlitzer were far more than band-organ and theatre-organ makers, and their first fortune was made as retailers, when they supplied drums to both sides in the American Civil War. Throughout their illustrious presence as music-retailers and instrument-makers, Wurlitzer were one of the great world authorities on violins, and a Wurlitzer label inside a rare violin is still regarded as proper authentication by the major international auction-houses and specialist dealers.

 

As for the size of the factory in Tonewanda, if you thought that Compton had a big factory, the Wurlitzer one even had its own timber yard and railway sidings!

 

;)

 

MM

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

...if you thought that Compton had a big factory, the Wurlitzer one even had its own timber yard and railway sidings!

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

 

...as did Norman & Beard Ltd at Norwich, St Stephen's Works. I have a brochure with an illustration of it.

 

H

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"The texture of the music, like that found in the Brandenburgs"....

(Quote)

 

I once wrote we need an organ which aim is the orchestra of the Bach's Cantates,

and another aiming at an adequate rendition of a complete Parsifal transcription.

 

Togheter, these two could do with 90% of the "Repertoire".

 

(Naughty boy am I -not even joking!-)

 

Pierre

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The Ally Pally pipes have been mentioned in this thread, and we have the pictures of the pipes presently stored in Liverpool at Willises. The condition is absolutely shocking, and most could never be used again.

It is shocking to see what happens to some instruments and parts thereof. Recently someone (MM?) linked to an organ on NPOR whose pipes were twisted into 'interesting shapes' and pedal flues sawn into window boxes. I shudder merely thinking of such wanton destruction.

 

At the same time, I am amazed to see instruments and pipe ranks rescued which I would have thought irretrievably damaged. This 1800 Tannenberg restoration is a good example. The façade pipes had been flattened by children but have been restored, apparently with satisfactory results.

 

Perhaps there is hope yet for the pipes you mentioned.

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I am amazed to see instruments and pipe ranks rescued which I would have thought irretrievably damaged. This 1800 Tannenberg restoration is a good example. The façade pipes had been flattened by children but have been restored, apparently with satisfactory results.

 

Perhaps there is hope yet for the pipes you mentioned.

 

Of course, you are right. Much heavily-damaged stuff is quite restorable, given the means and the will.

 

The reference made (yet again YAWN!) to Ally Pally stuff is completely transparent, and incorrect - the photographs which he notes "We" have aren't from Liverpool at all - these were taken many years ago in Petersfield.

 

If he (or those that pull his strings) had any knowledge of which they speak, one might aprreciate any gravity which they attempt to impart.

 

Sadly there isn't any.

 

Aside (but not really ;) ) - has anyone else noticed that the ONLY time that he raises his head is when I've made a posting?

:lol:

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...as did Norman & Beard Ltd at Norwich, St Stephen's Works. I have a brochure with an illustration of it.

 

H

 

 

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

 

 

I knew N & B had a wood-yard, but I wasn't aware of the railway sidings. Thanks for that information.

 

I don't to bore anyone about Wurlitzer, but as the subject is antiques it is probably not far off topic. I mentioned the Violin trade and retail trade in which they were involved, but of course, the factory was always much, much more than an organ-works.

 

Quite an enterprising family, the history of the works included band-organs (the original trade), then theatre organs, electric pianos, high quality harps, jukeboxes of fantastic engineering quality (now very prized items), electronic organs and various other things.

 

Consequently, the factory was not just large, it was enormous, and some of the following links will reveal pictures which demonstrate this. I think it's important to remember that Wurlitzer, almost uniquely in organ-building history, were first and foremost a very businesslike organisation with world-wide sales, who knew how to make money.

 

http://www.theatreorgans.com/factory.htm

 

http://www.msu.edu/~atchiso5/Wurlitzer2.htm

 

http://www.msu.edu/~atchiso5/Wurlitzer3.htm

 

http://www.nthistorymuseum.org/Collections/wurgal-1.html

 

:lol:

 

MM

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

At risk of repeating myself from an earlier post, Dr Reginald-Dixon was indeed described as such by Percy Whitlock, and I know exactly what he meant. Everything he did was so full of enthusiasm and with that "teasing" sense of school-boy delight.

 

I cannot begin to explain how we sparked each other into life, despite something like a 75 year age-gap. He was the most wonderful fun.

 

Even at the age of 15, which I think I was at the time, the thing which so fascinated me was his extraordinary intelligence, which he wore very lightly.

 

MM

 

Dr. J.H. Reginald Dixon - ah yes!

 

I too was a "follower" MM- I met him in 1972 I think, when I was taken by Mr. Glen to see the organ at the Cathedral, with the permission of the good Dr. D.

 

I vividly remember a 'Pirate' earing - and bye the way, did he or did he not wear a small amount of eye make-up, even at that advanced age?

 

The console at Lancaster was then still in the middle of the Gallery (prior to the hideously-bad 1975-ish rebuild) with it's french-style, terraced layout. He was adroit at playing without any registrational aids at all. Thirty-three years later, I'm involved in rebuilding it again - he may have been amused at that I think.

 

I have a signed copy of his Baroque Suite which was given to me by Francis Jackson, which he was given by Dixon - inside it is a letter from Wilfred Greenhouse Alt to Dixon, praising the opus in the most sincere way. He was a good musician and served Lancaster Catehdral well from 1909 until 1975 when he died.

 

David Wyld.

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Guest Roffensis
Of course, you are right. Much heavily-damaged stuff is quite restorable, given the means and the will.

 

The reference made (yet again YAWN!) to Ally Pally stuff is completely transparent, and incorrect - the photographs which he notes "We" have aren't from Liverpool at all - these were taken many years ago in Petersfield.

 

If he (or those that pull his strings) had any knowledge of which they speak, one might aprreciate any gravity which they attempt to impart.

 

Sadly there isn't any.

 

Aside (but not really ;) ) - has anyone else noticed that the ONLY time that he raises his head is when I've made a posting?

:lol:

 

 

No.

 

Like you, I was yawning.

 

R

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

I knew N & B had a wood-yard, but I wasn't aware of the railway sidings. Thanks for that information.

 

I don't to bore anyone about Wurlitzer, but as the subject is antiques it is probably not far off topic. I mentioned the Violin trade and retail trade in which they were involved, but of course, the factory was always much, much more than an organ-works.

 

Quite an enterprising family, the history of the works included band-organs (the original trade), then theatre organs, electric pianos, high quality harps, jukeboxes of fantastic engineering quality (now very prized items), electronic organs and various other things.

 

Consequently, the factory was not just large, it was enormous, and some of the following links will reveal pictures which demonstrate this. I think it's important to remember that Wurlitzer, almost uniquely in organ-building history, were first and foremost a very businesslike organisation with world-wide sales, who knew how to make money.

 

http://www.theatreorgans.com/factory.htm

 

http://www.msu.edu/~atchiso5/Wurlitzer2.htm

 

http://www.msu.edu/~atchiso5/Wurlitzer3.htm

 

http://www.nthistorymuseum.org/Collections/wurgal-1.html

 

:lol:

 

MM

 

Hi

 

The American Theatre Organ Society's book about Wurlitzer (published a couple of years ago) is full fo fascinating info.

 

Well worth getting hold of for those interested.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I seem to have ruffled someones feathers.

My response was to someone else who mentioned the poor condition of the Ally Pally pipes, so perhaps he should be given 100 lines. The person concerned knows what he is talking about, but we are quite prepared to listen to a organ builder who has been in the business all his life (ie not selling cars in his hey day)

All I said was that the pipes were stored in Liverpool, so I fail to understand why Petersfield was mentioned.

Please take breath and read the thread properly before writing a reply.

In fact I have contributed to quite a few different threads, but I guess that if you have plenty of work you would not have the time to read or contribute to them all.

Can I now ask for advice about damaged pipes, from someone who is not involved with the Willis organ at the Palace.please.

Colin Richell

Save the Ally Pally Organ Appeal.

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As a younger man I attended the centenary RCO dinner at a location in London as a guest of an eminent organist. Dr Dixon impressed me on two counts: first the enormous earring and,secondly,the fact that he.as one of the few non-Anglicans present ,bellowed Amen after the Grace.

An ecumenically-minded Roman Catholic before it became fashionable to be so! The rest of the assembly neither said( nor bellowed)anything.

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