Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Barry Memorial Halls, South Glamorgan


Peter Clark
 Share

Recommended Posts

The local paper, the South Wales Echo, carried a story (with photo) last Friday concerning the apparent need to get rid of the 4-manual Christie currently in Barry Memorial Halls. NPOR has the spec :

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N01867

 

The reasons given, according to the paper's report, are that it "takes up too much room" and that "there are not enough organists around to play it." As to the second reason, I wonder how many you need - one has usually proved sufficient in my experience. Now I know that the theatre organ is to not everybody's taste but this was a fine instrument in its day, but the paper also notes that it has not been played for four years so I suspect that some deterioration has occured. Short of a letter writing campaign or battering the doors of the town council or both, what else is there one can do? Offer free concerts (subject to the management paying for fixing the instrument)? Any ideas?

 

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Echo Gamba

Sorry to go off-topic so soon, but I presume, Peter, that you are based in that area. I hear that the Unitarian congregation has vacated their church in West Grove, Cardiff. My late Father lived in Cardoiff for many years when he worked for the SWEB, and was a member and lay-preacher there. I played a recital there some years ago (about 1986 at a guess). I wonder what has happened / will happen to the Forster & Andrews organ. Do you know, Peter?

 

E G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to go off-topic so soon, but I presume, Peter, that you are based in that area. I hear that the Unitarian congregation has vacated their church in West Grove, Cardiff. My late Father lived in Cardoiff for many years when he worked for the SWEB, and was a member and lay-preacher there. I played a recital there some years ago (about 1986 at a guess). I wonder what has happened / will happen to the Forster & Andrews organ. Do you know, Peter?

 

E G

 

I am sitting just a stone's throw from West Grove, in fact in St Peter Street, as I am organist at St Peter's Church here- I don't know what happened to the organ in the Unitarian church; the building is now used as a "healing centre" - but I'll find out and get back to you.

 

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, that was the Christie in the Regal, Marble Arch, there are several photos here:

 

http://www.organrecitals.com/p/gallery2.php?pic=rma

 

The Barry Christie used to be in The Regal Edmonton until about 1978. I can remember tuning there in 1977.

 

Peter

I'm almost sure that Sidney Torch opened the Edmonton organ and certainly did record and broadcast it.

 

The Barry situation is a great shame. It is down to hall management., and from what I've heard its down to one of the managers who doesn't like organs. The organ, I am told, has been mothballed for about 4 years.

 

I was one of four organists who took part in the re-opening of the organ at Barry after it had been re-installed there by the London & South of England Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society. This was 1 March 1987. The organ is originally Christie but IIRC was re-built by Wurlitzer and given more or less a Wurlitzer look - but to sit at the console it is unmistakably Christie.

 

Wonder what will happen now....

 

Q :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm almost sure that Sidney Torch opened the Edmonton organ and certainly did record and broadcast it.

 

The Barry situation is a great shame. It is down to hall management., and from what I've heard its down to one of the managers who doesn't like organs. The organ, I am told, has been mothballed for about 4 years.

 

I was one of four organists who took part in the re-opening of the organ at Barry after it had been re-installed there by the London & South of England Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society. This was 1 March 1987. The organ is originally Christie but IIRC was re-built by Wurlitzer and given more or less a Wurlitzer look - but to sit at the console it is unmistakably Christie.

 

Wonder what will happen now....

 

Q :o

 

This was mentioned a couple of years ago I think but wasn't this the re-opening recital for which William Mathias wrote a fanfare? And yes, Quentin, I share your sorrow and anger :(:lol:

 

Peter

 

PS Echo Gamba I've sent you a PM regarding the Unitarian church in West Grove.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played this organ many times as a student in its original home in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a wondeful instrument then. I understood from the late Ralph Bartlett, who was Secretary of the Theatre Organ Club at the time, that it had been re-built by Wurlitzer to Torch's specification. I have only heard it once in Barry ( I moved to Cardiff some years ago) and it was not at its best in spite of all the efforts put in by the team. The hall itself was scruffy and rather run down to say the least. I tried on several occasions to play it in Barry but a number of obstacles were put in my way and I gave up in the end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried on several occasions to play it in Barry but a number of obstacles were put in my way and I gave up in the end.

Sadly, the phenomenon of junior officials being obstructive when people ask to play organs in civic buildings, so that their masters can then turn round and say, 'We might as well get rid of the organ, no-one ever uses it', is not, in my experience, that rare. For instance, I believe that something similar used to happen at Manchester Town Hall. In fact, I had the rather embarrassing experience as a teenager of being reprimanded by a M/Cr TH receptionist for wasting her time, by having the temerity to ask for details of a forthcoming public recital (a rare thing at this venue, even as far back as the late '70s).

There were and are, of course many exceptions to this. The staff at Rochdale TH were always most kind and accommodating, even to a youngster with far more ability at pulling out stops than musical technique or judgement.

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...