Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Clockwise


Peter Clark
 Share

Recommended Posts

I saw the DVD of this last night, in which John Cleese plays (as usual) a maninacal character, ths time a headmaster obsessed with time. He describes his school as a "common or garden ordinary comprehensive" and the architecture suggests it was built in the 60s/early 70s. But the assembly hall has a pipe organ - prety rare I would have thought for a common or garden ordinary comprehensive of the 60s! The school is also called, mysteriously, Thomas Tomkins - so is there a musical message here? Does anyone know where it was filmed and if the organ was indeed real (in the film a pianist accompanies the hym at assembly)?

 

Just curious, that's all.

 

 

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

cor, that brings back memories - I was at King Eds when it was filmed, and my very first date ever was to go and watch it (Ahhhhhhhh...) in the old ABC cinema on the Bristol Road (now a McDonalds). Geoffrey Palmer, Joan Hickson running around - John Cleese kept to his caravan. KES was used for the conference scene at the end where Cleese's character loses it completely and makes the conference sing To Be A Pilgrim, as used in his school's assembly. 'His' head of music who also arrives at the conference is confounded by the lack of a piano at the front (tho' we could have told him there was a fairly knackered baby grand under the front section of the stage). I think the school's II/P Willis III, a WWI war memorial is shown at one point - Peter King, who dropped in on Wednesday afternoons to teach organ was on record as saying it was the worst instrument he'd ever played. I don't know about the organ at 'Thomas Tomkins' school (although as others have posted, it is Menzies in West Brom).

 

There was a coda to this a couple of years later, when the Chief Master (sorry, it was that sort of school) of KES became for a year the chairman of the Headmasters' Conference, ie, the role that Cleese's character was to become. We were bussed down to Cambridge one day to sing Evensong to them and somebody had had sufficient sense of humour to put To Be A Pilgrim down as the hymn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I saw the DVD of this last night, in which John Cleese plays (as usual) a maninacal character, ths time a headmaster obsessed with time. He describes his school as a "common or garden ordinary comprehensive" and the architecture suggests it was built in the 60s/early 70s. But the assembly hall has a pipe organ - prety rare I would have thought for a common or garden ordinary comprehensive of the 60s!

 

I can give three examples of organs in state sector schools: 1. I am currently on the board of governors of a state sector sixth-form college in Leicester which has a Walker organ dating from the 1930s on a gallery in the school hall. 2. I am also aware of an organ in Longslade School in Birstall (just north of Leicester) that was built by John Bence and pupils some years ago. 3. On reading through back issues of The Organ I also came across an article about an organ in Maltby comprehensive school in Yorkshire.

 

These three organs are all listed on NPOR. However, I am sure there must be more. It would seem to me that the excellent work behind the recent RCO/University of Bradford DanMagic animation risks falling on fallow ground if many pupils never get to see an organ in the flesh from primary school right through to sixth-form college.

 

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

David Shuker

 

Editor, BIOS Reporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

David Shuker

 

Editor, BIOS Reporter

I have to report the loss of a state school organ in the 1990s. Harrow County School (as it was known then) possessed a two-manual Rothwell NPOR: D04472; their works were less than half a mile away. This was the school attended by Michael Portillo, Clive Anderson, the late Geoffrey Perkins and others, and which featured in his moving documentary almost a fortnight ago on BBC2 about a truly talented musician - a school friend of Michael's - who committed suicide shortly before his sixteenth birthday. The organ was played regularly by Kenneth Waller, a classics and Russian teacher who was featured in the programme - and an FRCO, no less. The head of music from 1959 - 1976, Arthur Haley (1916-2004) also held that diploma.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

David Shuker

 

Editor, BIOS Reporter

 

Eager to help you enlarge your lists:

 

I gave some unofficial lessons in the late 60s/early 1970s on an extension organ at Peter Symonds School (now Peter Symonds College) in Winchester. This little instrument, which I think was a Compton) seems to have eluded the NPOR. Mind you, so has the recent organ (? by Manders) in the Chantry at Winchester College and the HN&B incarnation of the Chapel Organ there.

 

There is a Rushworth & Dreaper four-rank extension organ in Pates' Grammar School, Cheltenham.

 

For a long time there was a substantial Henry Speechly two-manual organ in the hall at The Crypt Grammar School, Gloucester. This was rescued from Southgate Congregational Church, Gloucester when this closed but was disposed of by the school recently and taken out by Mr.Ian Fox (late of The Kings School).

 

I put up two organs in the hall and the music department at Harlescott Grange School, Shrewsbury during my time there. I was obliged to take them away when I left, however, so maybe these don't count! I'm all for organs in schools - the ones above all got used and a number of new organists got hooked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although these places are no longer state schools, they were originally the state grammar schools in the town (up to the early 80s in the case of the boys school). In fact, as the boys school have now taken over the girls school next door, they are in fact the same school.

 

I played the RGS organ a number of times, though I would have loved to have seen the original Conacher in action!

 

The one next door at what was formerly The Alice Ottley School is in their dining hall, and the ever pervading smell of school meals seriously compromises listening to or playing the organ for any length of time.

 

The RGS organ gets pretty good use and is kept quite well, not so the one next door.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can give three examples of organs in state sector schools: 1. I am currently on the board of governors of a state sector sixth-form college in Leicester which has a Walker organ dating from the 1930s on a gallery in the school hall. 2. I am also aware of an organ in Longslade School in Birstall (just north of Leicester) that was built by John Bence and pupils some years ago. 3. On reading through back issues of The Organ I also came across an article about an organ in Maltby comprehensive school in Yorkshire.

 

These three organs are all listed on NPOR. However, I am sure there must be more. It would seem to me that the excellent work behind the recent RCO/University of Bradford DanMagic animation risks falling on fallow ground if many pupils never get to see an organ in the flesh from primary school right through to sixth-form college.

 

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

David Shuker

 

Editor, BIOS Reporter

 

Hi

 

The only one that I know of that's still in situ is the Wurlitzer in Thomas Peacocke School, Rye. it was put in in the 1950's - basically as a straight organ, and made playable again in the 1980's when Nigel Spooner was a Chemistry Teacher at the school. It's more recentl received a complete rebuild and is in use as a theatre organ. In Nigel's time, it was used for some school assemblies, and after he left, I played it every year for the school carol concerts, until I too left the area.

 

Oakworth School, Haworth, obviously had a pipe organ, but when I was there for an event a couple of years ago, all that remained was some pedal pipes and chests at the side of the stage. I've not managed to find any more info on that one.

 

The scondary school in Burnham-on-Crouch also had a pipe organ in the main hall - but, as with others mentioned in this thread, I think it was the pet project of a staff member, and had gone by 1997.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I have no first hand knowledge of it, I believe there is an organ (probably a pipe organ) in the (state sector) Priory School (now a tertiary college speciallising in the arts) in Lewes, East Sussex.

 

I recall Kenneth Waller, mentioned in a posting above, doimng page turning, putting candidates at ease &c., in RCO exams at one time. I got the impression that he was/is an extremely nice person.

 

Malcolm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can give three examples of organs in state sector schools: 1. I am currently on the board of governors of a state sector sixth-form college in Leicester which has a Walker organ dating from the 1930s on a gallery in the school hall. 2. I am also aware of an organ in Longslade School in Birstall (just north of Leicester) that was built by John Bence and pupils some years ago. 3. On reading through back issues of The Organ I also came across an article about an organ in Maltby comprehensive school in Yorkshire.

 

These three organs are all listed on NPOR. However, I am sure there must be more. It would seem to me that the excellent work behind the recent RCO/University of Bradford DanMagic animation risks falling on fallow ground if many pupils never get to see an organ in the flesh from primary school right through to sixth-form college.

 

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

David Shuker

 

Editor, BIOS Reporter

 

There is also (or at least was) a two-clavier pipe organ in the main hall at the Kemp-Welch Secondary School, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset (now known as Rossmore Community School). I believe that the school also has a small police station on-site.

 

Details of this instrument may be found in a back-issue of The Organ. If I have time later, I shall try to locate the particular copy. Apparently, the school staff and some of the boys built most of this organ (including the greater part of the console) themselves, with some guidance from a local organ builder.

 

I do not know if this instrument is still in situ, but I doubt that it is in good condition.

 

Friday 21/11/08

 

A few minutes ago (during morning break), I spoke to a colleague who was seconded to this school until September; he informs me that the instrument was dsimantled during his first year there. Only the pipe front now remains. Apparently, this was organised by the school chaplain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The SKinners' School, Tunbridge Wells is a state grammar school for boys with a pipe organ, a two manual Bryceson & Morten tracker, now in desperate need of repair. This was a transplant from the nearby St John's Church, which replaced it with a larger Walker organ in the early 1900's.

 

Bennett Memorial School, Tunbridge Wells, a state co-ed comprehensive, has a Walker Positive, still in fine fettle.

 

Gravesend Grammar School for Girls had a II/P HN&B c1925. Damaged by fire in the early 1980's - it was salvaged and rebuilt and presumably is still there?

 

H

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can give three examples of organs in state sector schools: 1. I am currently on the board of governors of a state sector sixth-form college in Leicester which has a Walker organ dating from the 1930s on a gallery in the school hall. 2. I am also aware of an organ in Longslade School in Birstall (just north of Leicester) that was built by John Bence and pupils some years ago. 3. On reading through back issues of The Organ I also came across an article about an organ in Maltby comprehensive school in Yorkshire.

 

These three organs are all listed on NPOR. However, I am sure there must be more. It would seem to me that the excellent work behind the recent RCO/University of Bradford DanMagic animation risks falling on fallow ground if many pupils never get to see an organ in the flesh from primary school right through to sixth-form college.

 

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

David Shuker

 

Editor, BIOS Reporter

 

Another one that has just come to my attention, after reading your post actually, is Forest School, Horsham.

 

I did a simple search on NPOR putting school into the search box. After that you have to sort out the list by a more tedious means, but once you weed out public/private schools, and those organisations that have school in their title, i.e. RSCM, the list is very interesting.

 

Jonathan :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wigan Grammar School had a very nice brand new organ by Pendlebury in the mid '70s when I started my teaching career in the Wigan area. It replaced a 4 rank extension organ by R&D and sounded very well in the very reverberant main hall, Bill Morgan (FRCO) was music master at the time and also O&C at Bolton PC.

The pipework was on a cantilevered platform on the rear wall with a mobile console, the voicing was quite uncompromising but suited the acoustic.

I think spec was something like this: Great 8 4 2 sesq mix Swell 8 4 2 1 1/3 8 Ped 16(from gt) 8 4 16(from sw)

The school went comprehensive (and also to the dogs!), closed, the organ was removed and the fine buildings are now Wigan & Leigh out-patients department.

 

DT

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wigan Grammar School had a very nice brand new organ by Pendlebury in the mid '70s when I started my teaching career in the Wigan area. It replaced a 4 rank extension organ by R&D and sounded very well in the very reverberant main hall, Bill Morgan (FRCO) was music master at the time and also O&C at Bolton PC.

The pipework was on a cantilevered platform on the rear wall with a mobile console, the voicing was quite uncompromising but suited the acoustic.

I think spec was something like this: Great 8 4 2 sesq mix Swell 8 4 2 1 1/3 8 Ped 16(from gt) 8 4 16(from sw)

The school went comprehensive (and also to the dogs!), closed, the organ was removed and the fine buildings are now Wigan & Leigh out-patients department.

 

DT

 

NPOR says organ was destroyed by fire in 1976, was this the old organ or the new one, or totally inaccurate!

 

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NPOR says organ was destroyed by fire in 1976, was this the old organ or the new one, or totally inaccurate!

 

Jonathan

 

The previous R&D organ was the one damaged in a fire.

The Pendlebury was new in 1977, I remember going to Noel Rawsthorne's opening recital (Flor Peeters should have played but cancelled at the last minute).

The Pendlebury was subsequently relocated, but I know not where!

 

DT

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gravesend Grammar School for Girls had a II/P HN&B c1925. Damaged by fire in the early 1980's - it was salvaged and rebuilt and presumably is still there?

 

H

 

I can confirm that it's still there - I was music teacher there from 1999-2006 and I played it every morning in assembly. Fortunately after the fire the insurance paid for it to be rebuilt and so it's in good condition and well maintained.

 

Unfortunately I'm not so lucky in my current school!

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another one that has just come to my attention, after reading your post actually, is Forest School, Horsham.

 

I did a simple search on NPOR putting school into the search box. After that you have to sort out the list by a more tedious means, but once you weed out public/private schools, and those organisations that have school in their title, i.e. RSCM, the list is very interesting.

 

Jonathan :rolleyes:

 

Hi

 

Entering "School Horsham" finds it in one click!

 

Also, if you're having trouble finding an NPOR entry, there is a "neighbourhood search" facility that allows you to enter a town name & a radius within which to search - that will usually find entries listed (correctly) under nearby villages, etc.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

NPOR Editor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gravesend Grammar School for Girls had a II/P HN&B c1925. Damaged by fire in the early 1980's - it was salvaged and rebuilt and presumably is still there?

 

H

Didin't know about that one, though I once went out with a 6th-former from there. There was also a small (2-manual?) pipe organ in what was then known as the Girls' Technical School (Wombwell Hall) in Gravesend. NPOR doesn't mention this. The school is no more, and I haven't seen or heard of the organ since some of us from the Boys' Grammar School went to "bump up" the girls' school choir for their annual St Matthew Passion performances in the 1960s (and how many state schools do that nowadays?!).

 

Dover Boys' Grammar School has one: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=E01435, and I also heard a rumour of one at Maidstone Boys' Grammar School, though I can't confirm this, and NPOR doesn't have it listed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember noticing this instrument in Hornsey, North London in the first volume of The Classical Organ In Britain and marvelling that a state/CE school could have such an instrument. I now live just down the road and fear that the instrument is no longer present as the school has been replaced by a new City Academy. I'd love to know how and why it was installed and what happened to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a leaflet from Nicholsons about an organ in Oldbury Grammar School, I dont know if it still exists as the school is now a sports college.

 

It was still there about 15 years ago, complete with basketball ring on the case, if I remember correctly. Looked very un-used, the organ that is, not the basketball hoop! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would therefore be most grateful if any of you who know about organ in state schools could let me know about them.

 

Both of the Catholic comprehensive secondary schools in London Borough of Sutton have organs.

 

The John Fisher School, Purley, has a two manual (N017989) that is remains in very active use, and is regularly maintained by Browne & Sons, Canterbury.

 

I'm afraid I know nothing about the organ of St. Philomena's, Carshalton.

 

Regards,

 

Tony

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...