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Chatham Parish Church


Guest Roffensis
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Guest Roffensis

I wonder if anyone knows what became of the Organ formerly in St. Mary's Parish Church, Chatham in kent. This organ I know to have been salvaged when the church closed in 1973, finding a new home in Germany. A collegue once told me he had played a Samuel Green organ in Germany, which fitted the bill as it was indeed moved from England, but where he said it was I cannot recall.

 

St. Mary's itself found use for a time as a Heritage Centre. More recently (August this year) it appeared closed and disused. Sad given it's history, with such as Percy Whitlock and Joe Levett (both of Rochester Cathedral fame) having served there.

 

The organ had been enlarged, and I well remember it, and also when it sat unloved in the empty church.

 

R

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I wonder if anyone knows what became of the Organ formerly in St. Mary's Parish Church, Chatham in kent. This organ I know to have been salvaged when the church closed in 1973, finding a new home in Germany. A collegue once told me he had played a Samuel Green organ in Germany, which fitted the bill as it was indeed moved from England, but where he said it was I cannot recall.

 

St. Mary's itself found use for a time as a Heritage Centre. More recently (August this year) it appeared closed and disused. Sad given it's history, with such as Percy Whitlock and Joe Levett (both of Rochester Cathedral fame) having served there.

 

The organ had been enlarged, and I well remember it, and also when it sat unloved in the empty church.

 

R

 

Hi

 

NPOR has 2 entries for 2 different rebuild states (search for "Mary Chatham"). The final survey just says "sold to Germany 1977".

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Roffensis
Hi

 

NPOR has 2 entries for 2 different rebuild states (search for "Mary Chatham"). The final survey just says "sold to Germany 1977".

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

 

 

Thanks, yes I know and it proves it went. I just wonder where.

 

 

R

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Well, it seems *many people* in Germany do not know anything

about any Green organ imported there......And be sure they are the

kind of guys who would know !

Any more data available ?

 

Pierre

 

A Samuel Green organ which may possibly fit the description is this one - Green Organ? - the so-called Buckingham Palast Orgel, recently installed in the Deutschherrenkapelle in Saarbruecken.

 

Its nomadic wanderings over the years have taken it from Buck House to Holy Trinity, Kingsway to Latimer School, Hammersmith, thence to Germany [see NPOR N16499]

 

JS

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A Samuel Green organ which may possibly fit the description is this one - Green Organ? - the so-called Buckingham Palast Orgel, recently installed in the Deutschherrenkapelle in Saarbruecken.

 

Its nomadic wanderings over the years have taken it from Buck House to Holy Trinity, Kingsway to Latimer School, Hammersmith, thence to Germany [see NPOR N16499]

 

JS

 

Hi

 

Sorry - that's definitely not the Chatham organ. I've very recently updated the NPOR surveys for the Buckingham Palace organ, and it's whole history can now be traced (but probably won't be publically on line now until the new server goes live in the new year.)

 

It would be good to have a record of the fate of the Chatham organ if anyone does discover its whereabouts.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Sorry - that's definitely not the Chatham organ. I've very recently updated the NPOR surveys for the Buckingham Palace organ, and it's whole history can now be traced (but probably won't be publically on line now until the new server goes live in the new year.)

 

It would be good to have a record of the fate of the Chatham organ if anyone does discover its whereabouts.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Quite so. Just for the record, my 3 penn'orth was merely in response to Pierre's request for information on 'any Green organ' exported to Germany.

 

JS

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Guest Roffensis
It is to be feared that, according to the ideas that prevailed in Germany in 1977,

such an organ was bought by a builder to re-use it in bits.... :(

 

Pierre

 

I must try to contact my old friend. He actually played it in its new home. That would settle this!!

 

R

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It would help us, if we knew where this new home is....

In the meantime, could it resemble to this:

 

http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/5519/greenorgelck0.jpg

 

Pierre

 

If I can add my tuppenthworth, the image from imageshack.us does look remarkably like the Chatham organ, I have 2 photos of it in its original setting, one of which, by George Jessup, is reproduced in my 'Percy Whitlock - Organist and Composer' book (2nd edition, Sessions of York, 2003). According to my notes the organ was sold to the National Museum in Nurnberg, Germany in 1978 and restored by Hans Peter Mebold. I also have several recordings of the organ, broadcasts, mostly, made by the BBC in 1946 and after, featuring the church choir, local RSCM groups etc accompanied by James 'Joe' Levett. I rescued Levett's complete audio archive shortly prior to his move into an old folks' home. Otherwise it was destined for the skip! St Mary's Church is in a sorry state nowadays. There were several vagrants sleeping in its grounds when I passed by earlier this year. What a change from its heyday in the 1920s, '30s and '40s.

 

Malcolm Riley

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Roffensis
If I can add my tuppenthworth, the image from imageshack.us does look remarkably like the Chatham organ, I have 2 photos of it in its original setting, one of which, by George Jessup, is reproduced in my 'Percy Whitlock - Organist and Composer' book (2nd edition, Sessions of York, 2003). According to my notes the organ was sold to the National Museum in Nurnberg, Germany in 1978 and restored by Hans Peter Mebold. I also have several recordings of the organ, broadcasts, mostly, made by the BBC in 1946 and after, featuring the church choir, local RSCM groups etc accompanied by James 'Joe' Levett. I rescued Levett's complete audio archive shortly prior to his move into an old folks' home. Otherwise it was destined for the skip! St Mary's Church is in a sorry state nowadays. There were several vagrants sleeping in its grounds when I passed by earlier this year. What a change from its heyday in the 1920s, '30s and '40s.

 

Malcolm Riley

 

 

Yes Mr. Riley, I quite agree. I was there in August, and the place is in a very sorry state indeed. As to the organ, it WAS played by my colleague, so it is up and running somewhere!!

 

It may interest you to know I have a recording of Robert Ashfield playing Handel's Occaisional overture from 1973. You may like this for your archive? It's just the second movement. It may also interest you to know that RA did a recital at Rochester Cathedral one sunday evening at 6, this would be around the early 70s also, and during this he played the following

 

Whitlock-Antiphon

 

An old friend recorded this all on a reel to reel, but he died yonks ago, and the tape was lost anyway. (a great pity). Most intriquing is that I well recall Dr. Ashfield telling me point blank what the Whitlock piece was, ("Antiphon by Percy Whitlock") in the same week. I again questioned him a few years ago, as I have never found the piece or heard of it since, but he could not recall it at all. I mention this to you, as it may have been a MS copy, unpublished obviously. What I can tell you is that it was a "ABA" piece, about 3 minutes or so, with "echo" effects (swell/great) in 4/4. I hear it in my head in D, and it closed with a typical Whitlock cadence, like the Toccata.

 

R

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Yes Mr. Riley, I quite agree. I was there in August, and the place is in a very sorry state indeed. As to the organ, it WAS played by my colleague, so it is up and running somewhere!!

 

It may interest you to know I have a recording of Robert Ashfield playing Handel's Occaisional overture from 1973. You may like this for your archive? It's just the second movement. It may also interest you to know that RA did a recital at Rochester Cathedral one sunday evening at 6, this would be around the early 70s also, and during this he played the following

 

Whitlock-Antiphon

 

An old friend recorded this all on a reel to reel, but he died yonks ago, and the tape was lost anyway. (a great pity). Most intriquing is that I well recall Dr. Ashfield telling me point blank what the Whitlock piece was, ("Antiphon by Percy Whitlock") in the same week. I again questioned him a few years ago, as I have never found the piece or heard of it since, but he could not recall it at all. I mention this to you, as it may have been a MS copy, unpublished obviously. What I can tell you is that it was a "ABA" piece, about 3 minutes or so, with "echo" effects (swell/great) in 4/4. I hear it in my head in D, and it closed with a typical Whitlock cadence, like the Toccata.

 

R

 

Whitlock's Antiphon sounds most intriguing. I'm surprised that Doc Ashfield didn't mention it to me on the couple of occasions that we met. Ah well. Was the piece in a slow tempo? The only candidate I can think of is an ADAGIO, D major, 4/4, slow (obviously) which was found in MS in the loft at Rochester by George Jessup (an erstwhile Hylton Stewart and Whitlock pupil) in 1930, shortly before PW's departure to the healthier climes of Bournemouth. George allowed the Whitlock Trust to have a photocopy and it was eventually published by Banks in the '90s. However, the ending is rather unlike the Plymouth Suite Toccata, so that might be the wrong piece! I also hear rumours of an unpublished piece by Norman Cocker, composed for Whitlock.

 

I have amateur mono reel-to-reel recordings of all of Ashfield's Rochester Choral Society concerts from the late '50s onwards including a rather exciting Gerontius from 1959. Also Joe Levett and Harold A Bennett playing live in solo recitals in 1956 and 1957 respectively.

 

Malcolm Riley

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