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Ayr Town Hall


andyorgan
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Christmas Greetings,

 

We regularly go to Southwest Scotland and stay about 40 minutes drive away from Ayr, I wasn't aware of this instrument but will get intouch with the Town Hall authorities and give it a go, I wonder who's done the restoration.

 

Dumfries, which we drive through on the way up is also about 40 minutes away from where we stay. There are 2 outstanding organs here which I sometimes play, neither is written up properly on NPOR so I will get full details next time I visit and write them up properly.

 

- The Crichton Memorial Church has a 2 manual T. C. Lewis restored a few years ago by Harrisons who maintain it, about 22/3 stops. The church is part of the new University of Southwest Scotland complex, which was a Victorian hospital complex until recently. The church is fabulous; central tower, stone vaulting, transept, very good acoustics, and the organ is well placed. This organ doesn't get much use.

 

- St. John's Episcopal has a 3 manual 1938 H&H which they (Harrisons) finished rebuilding only last week, I popped in as the final voicing was being done. 36 stops including a 6 stop 'Nave Great' which is the 1969 Positive rebuilt, and a new Pedal Trombone, otherwise the original 1938 stops. It looks like and excellent job, I was particularly impressed by how all the new console items match the originals. Opening recital by John Robinson, 7th Feb. The job was on Harrisons website but they seem to have deleted it now the work is finished.

 

An organbuilder friend refers to Scotland as an 'Organ Graveyard' - not this region it would seem!

 

DT

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Christmas Greetings,

 

We regularly go to Southwest Scotland and stay about 40 minutes drive away from Ayr, I wasn't aware of this instrument but will get intouch with the Town Hall authorities and give it a go, I wonder who's done the restoration.

 

Dumfries, which we drive through on the way up is also about 40 minutes away from where we stay. There are 2 outstanding organs here which I sometimes play, neither is written up properly on NPOR so I will get full details next time I visit and write them up properly.

 

- The Crichton Memorial Church has a 2 manual T. C. Lewis restored a few years ago by Harrisons who maintain it, about 22/3 stops. The church is part of the new University of Southwest Scotland complex, which was a Victorian hospital complex until recently. The church is fabulous; central tower, stone vaulting, transept, very good acoustics, and the organ is well placed. This organ doesn't get much use.

 

- St. John's Episcopal has a 3 manual 1938 H&H which they (Harrisons) finished rebuilding only last week, I popped in as the final voicing was being done. 36 stops including a 6 stop 'Nave Great' which is the 1969 Positive rebuilt, and a new Pedal Trombone, otherwise the original 1938 stops. It looks like and excellent job, I was particularly impressed by how all the new console items match the originals. Opening recital by John Robinson, 7th Feb. The job was on Harrisons website but they seem to have deleted it now the work is finished.

 

An organbuilder friend refers to Scotland as an 'Organ Graveyard' - not this region it would seem!

 

DT

 

Many thanks for this, let me know how you get on.

 

I'm afraid I can't agree with your organ builder friend. When I was a student in Edinburgh, we had a fantastic array of organs to play, not to mention the ones that were in the process of being rebuilt. Glasgow has the same as well (though sadly, nothing in the concert hall, but as a regular player at the Kelvingrove, they don't come better supported than there). With the Paisley Abbey rebuild in the pipeline, there's certainly plenty to play north of the border.

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  • 4 weeks later...
will get intouch with the Town Hall authorities and give it a go

 

As promised, a few words about this organ.

 

Had about an hour and a half at the Town Hall last week, the organ is exactly what NPOR says it is: an untouched 1903 Lewis & Co.

It's not had a thorough restoration: a reconditioned blower and repairs to the winding systems, I was unable to ascertain who had done the work.

There are still a lot of problems with the pneumatics: no manual couplers working, and pedal couplers very badly out of adjustment. The manual departments worked fine except for 2 stuck sliders, but the pedal was in need of attention; only the Sub Bass and Violon working, both with a lot of missing notes.

 

However, and this is a big however, what was working sounded superb, helped by a very favourable acoustic. The quality of voicing and regulation of both flues and reeds was excellent. From the state of the console, I would guess that this organ has had very little use over it's 105 years.

Given a thorough professional restoration, it would be a national treasure.

 

The Town Hall authorities were quite happy for me to play and hoped the organ would get more use. If you're visting the area, arrange to try it, the Town Hall contact number is 0845 601 2020

 

DT

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  • 11 months later...
Dumfries.... There are 2 outstanding organs here which I sometimes play, neither is written up properly on NPOR so I will get full details next time I visit and write them up properly.

 

- The Crichton Memorial Church has a 2 manual T. C. Lewis .....

 

- St. John's Episcopal has a 3 manual 1938 H&H ....

 

As this topic has re-appeared after 12 months I just thought I'd mention, for anyone interested in organs north of the border, that the Crichton and St. John's have appeared at last on NPOR with some photos.

 

DT

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As this topic has re-appeared after 12 months I just thought I'd mention, for anyone interested in organs north of the border, that the Crichton and St. John's have appeared at last on NPOR with some photos.

 

DT

 

Many thanks for updating the information on these two fine organs. I was fortunate to have regular access to the Lewis organ whilst a schoolboy in Dumfries many years ago.

 

A

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As this topic has re-appeared after 12 months I just thought I'd mention, for anyone interested in organs north of the border, that the Crichton and St. John's have appeared at last on NPOR with some photos.

 

DT

It's good to see these updated. Perhaps for Tony Newnham's benefit (as I'm now unsure of the process of sending corrections to NPOR), at ST. JOHN'S, the bass octave of the new Nave Open Diapason is from the Great Small Open Diapason (this latter stop came from the Balliol College instrument which had been rebuilt by H & H in 1937, and is wholly on a chest) and the Swell Oboe is now back at 8ft pitch.

At CRICHTON (I'm sure DT enjoys his trips there) the Swell Mixture is three ranks, 15:19:22, the "2" on the drawstop relating to the pitch of the lowest rank at CC.

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It's good to see these updated. Perhaps for Tony Newnham's benefit (as I'm now unsure of the process of sending corrections to NPOR), at ST. JOHN'S, the bass octave of the new Nave Open Diapason is from the Great Small Open Diapason (this latter stop came from the Balliol College instrument which had been rebuilt by H & H in 1937, and is wholly on a chest) and the Swell Oboe is now back at 8ft pitch.

At CRICHTON (I'm sure DT enjoys his trips there) the Swell Mixture is three ranks, 15:19:22, the "2" on the drawstop relating to the pitch of the lowest rank at CC.

 

Hi

 

An e-mail to the adress on NPOR is the best way - there's a "contact us" link at the bottom of the front page. The details will then go into the system and be allocated to the next available editor. I'm well behind at present, as I've been ill for almost 1/2 the year - just getting back to work now, having been signed off since early September.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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  • 3 months later...

Only a couple of minor points : the Crichton Lewis was cleaned and overhauled in 1982/3 by Willis, not Harrisons. It has however been tuned by Harrisons for quite some time now. St. Michael's Parish Church in Dumfries, where I'm organist, has a two manual Willis of 1890/ 1933 which we recently had overhauled by Willis. Unfortunately many of the remaining churches have gone over to electronics but Dumfries used to be a wonderful place for budding organists as it had a lot of churches and produced several University organ students and scholars, myself included.

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  • 1 month later...
As this topic has re-appeared after 12 months I just thought I'd mention, for anyone interested in organs north of the border, that the Crichton and St. John's have appeared at last on NPOR with some photos.

 

 

We had one of our regular short breaks north of the border last week and I was saddened to hear that Tom Carrick died on the 27th May.

Tom was organist at both St. John's and the Crichton, Dumfries (the latter church no longer having regular Sunday services). He had been the organist of St. John's since 1956, presiding over rebuilds by H&H in 1969 and 2008.

I am aware of one other forum member who knew Tom.

 

DT

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