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David Thornton

Lancaster Priory

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Visited Lancaster on Saturday, and picked up a glossy leaflet/fund raiser in the Priory about plans for the replacement of the notorious Makin electronic.

For those of you who don't know Lancaster the 1922 H & H was discarded in 1979 to makeway for 'reordering work' and a large 4 manual Makin inserted in the space of the original console, the case being filled with speakers.

 

The present proposal is that David Wells will place a large pipe organ on the substantial west gallery, and a smaller pipe organ in the existing Austin case in the north choir aisle. Both instruments will be controlled from one console placed on the northeast side of the choirstalls.

 

The nave organ will be the redundant 1913 Willis 11 from St. John's Blackpool with the unfortunate tonal alterations of the 60's largely reversed. This will be housed in a redundant case by Austin & Paley (noted Lancastrian architectural practice who build many outstanding large churches in the northwest including St. George's Stockport) from St. John's Great Harwood.

The choir organ will be the redundant 1904 H & H from Blackburn Girls High School. Very similar indeed to what Harrisons originally installed in 1922 when a large proportion of the scheme was 'prepared for' only and remained that way until the 60's (what a difference to the changes they implemented at Blackpool!).

I got the impression that David Wells has both these instruments in his possession at present

 

Here are the proposed specs.

 

NAVE ORGAN

Great:

Double Diapason 16

Open Diapason No. 1

Open Diapason No. 2

Claribel Flute 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture 111

Tromba 8

 

Swell:

Geigen Diapason 8

Lieblich Gedackt 8

Aeoline 8

Voix Celeste 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture 111

Contra Fagotto 16

Cornopean 8

Hautboy 8

 

Choir: (originally enclosed)

Stopped Flute 8

Viola da Gamba 8

Viola Celeste 8

Flute 4

Nazard 2 2/3

Piccolo 2

Clarinet 8

Duchy of Lancaster Grand Trumpet 8 :rolleyes: (that's the mother-of-all drawstops)

 

Pedal:

Acoustic Bass 32

Open Diapason 16

Open Metal 16 (Gt)

Bourdon 16

Octave 8

Flute 8

Flute 4

Ophicleide 16

Tromba 8 (Gt)

 

CHOIR ORGAN

 

Great:

Contra Gamba 16

Open Diapason 8

Hohlflote 8

Dulciana 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

 

Swell:

Violin Diapason 8

Lieblich Gedacht 8

Salicional 8

Voix Celeste 8

Gemshorn 4

Flageolet 2

Mixture 111

Trumpet 8

 

Pedal:

Bourdon 16

Bass Flute 8

 

Estimated cost will be £443K of which only £85K needs to be raised. The gentleman I spoke with at the Priory thought this would happen within the next 12 months. Considering that the Priory owns neither of these pedigree instruments, and that structural work on the gallery, choirstalls and organ chamber will be necessary, this sum looks like remarkable value to me.

 

It looks an exciting prospect to me, the nave is relatively short so the distance from the choirstalls console should not pose problems. My only reservation is that I would prefer to see the nave organ dually playable from an attached console in the gallery although this would of course add to the cost (don't know if the original is still in existence).

 

DT

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This is interesting. Thank you for posting this, David.

 

At least it will be better than the toaster. The schemes look reasonably useful on paper, apart, perhaps, from the slightly silly name for the solo reed.

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This is interesting. Thank you for posting this, David.

 

At least it will be better than the toaster. The schemes look reasonably useful on paper, apart, perhaps, from the slightly silly name for the solo reed.

 

Perhaps you would prefer a Tuba ?

 

Pierre

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This is interesting. Thank you for posting this, David.

 

At least it will be better than the toaster. The schemes look reasonably useful on paper, apart, perhaps, from the slightly silly name for the solo reed.

 

I agree. Perhaps the reed is being donated by an enthusiastic VIP. A nightmare for the engraver in any case - tiny print or a very large drawstop.

 

A

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What will happen to the console of the Makin organ? Presumably it is made of good quality stuff and could be re-used in a pipe organ scheme? Was that console originally built by George Sixsmith?

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I thought about the same size as a Duchy Original.

N

Very appropriate. And you'd want it to be a much bigger stop knob than any other on the organ, to emphasise its dominance over the other stops on the organ.

 

A red, (maybe orange) flashing warning light would be useful too. Preferably on top of the organ console so listeners can run for cover when it's drawn.

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The console could have been built by George Sixsmith as the toaster was built in the Pilling era before the company started using the Dutch firm.

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Very appropriate. And you'd want it to be a much bigger stop knob than any other on the organ, to emphasise its dominance over the other stops on the organ.

 

A red, (maybe orange) flashing warning light would be useful too. Preferably on top of the organ console so listeners can run for cover when it's drawn.

 

And only to be used when Her Majesty, The Duke of Lancaster attends?

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Quite frequently I find myself playing for services or concerts in a church which has abandoned its pipe organ (Norman & Beard - before they joined with Hill - and some Bevington pipework) and now use an enormous 3 manual thing called a Prestige 2 which is full of lights and other gadgets. At my age and state of senility it makes me think I'm flying a plane rather than playing Elgar's Ecce Sacerdos for +Whitby or +Richborough!

 

It would be well worth their while restoring the pipe organ. I gave my first recital on it in 1967 and that, if nothing else, surely renders it an instrument of historical interest!

 

Malcolm

 

PS There's another toaster in Worthing that has a rather raspy reed called "Turner's Trumpet" in honour of its D-of-M

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What will happen to the console of the Makin organ? Presumably it is made of good quality stuff and could be re-used in a pipe organ scheme? Was that console originally built by George Sixsmith?

 

Makin were located very near to Sixsmiths who were building one console per week for them during Makin's heydays. Andew Sixsmith made me a custom toaster with a high quality drawstop console 12 years ago.

 

The gentleman I spoke with at the Priory said the Makin had a lot of problems, becoming increasingly unreliable with difficult or impossible to rectify faults.

The console could make the basis of a good home toaster (or two!) for someboby.

 

DT

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Makin were located very near to Sixsmiths who were building one console per week for them during Makin's heydays. Andew Sixsmith made me a custom toaster with a high quality drawstop console 12 years ago.

 

The gentleman I spoke with at the Priory said the Makin had a lot of problems, becoming increasingly unreliable with difficult or impossible to rectify faults.

The console could make the basis of a good home toaster (or two!) for someboby.

 

DT

But no use as the basis of a console for the pipe organ? Once all the old analogue electronics are out of the way, I would have thought that it has just about everything that is needed - presumably wooden keyboards, KA drawstops and pistons - and with a good builder to refurbish it..... I guess they could save mega bucks. Or could it be that because this console has (shudder) controlled a toaster that it will have to be confined to a skip - or broken up for spares. Seems a waste of perfectly good organ building time to me (and a waste of money!)

:rolleyes:

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But no use as the basis of a console for the pipe organ? Once all the old analogue electronics are out of the way, I would have thought that it has just about everything that is needed - presumably wooden keyboards, KA drawstops and pistons - and with a good builder to refurbish it..... I guess they could save mega bucks. Or could it be that because this console has (shudder) controlled a toaster that it will have to be confined to a skip - or broken up for spares. Seems a waste of perfectly good organ building time to me (and a waste of money!)

:rolleyes:

 

How about left jamb for the main specification and right jamb for the Duchy of Lancaster? In any case that's going to be one huge knob.

 

Interesting to hear about the "fate" of the Makin - I was under the impression that elderly toasters often had quality problems with the material from which they were constructed, not just with their electronics. But it wouldn't surprise me if it's just the innards that are failing if the console itself was built by a reputable pipe organ builder. I wonder if Makins were consulted or considered refurbishing the electronics - though having recently had the misfortune of hearing an Allan which I was assured by the proud organist was around thirty years old but had just had a total digital makeover I wouldn't rate its chances too highly. Frankly I think Compton could have done better with his analogue technology.

 

The combined specification of the two instruments doesn't seem to lend itself to being controlled by one four manual console, though I expect there would be a few takers for a quality four manual console whether to control an electronic or as a moveable console for a pipe organ. And I would imagine that any modern instrument with solid state action could have a second, midified console attached for very little expense other than changing the names on the stops. Apart from St Paul's Cathedral and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, are there many other examples of second consoles being added recently?

 

Failing that I'll keep my eyes open for four manual toasters on Ebay!

 

Contrbombarde

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But no use as the basis of a console for the pipe organ? Once all the old analogue electronics are out of the way, I would have thought that it has just about everything that is needed - presumably wooden keyboards, KA drawstops and pistons - and with a good builder to refurbish it..... I guess they could save mega bucks. Or could it be that because this console has (shudder) controlled a toaster that it will have to be confined to a skip - or broken up for spares. Seems a waste of perfectly good organ building time to me (and a waste of money!)

:rolleyes:

An interesting point - particularly since the Makin at Lancaster Priory is of a similar vintage to the former toaster at Christchurch Priory. I can certainly state that the console for this instrument was of a high quality and very sturdy. I also found it more comfortable and considerably more elegant than the very squat console currently residing on the floor of the Nave; (personally, I never had a problem looking at my old boss when he was conducting the choir, so I never desired a console so low I could see over the top).

 

On the old Makin at Christchurch, the basic design was similar to Compton's console at Bangor Cathedral. I cannot remember whether the drawstops were ivory or plastic (or Ivothene, etc) - but I do know that there were four high quality ivory claviers, courtesy of Herrburger Brooks, Long Eaton, Notts. And very comfortable they were too.

 

If the console at Lancaster Priory is of a similar quality, they could probably save themselves around £30,000 to £40,000 - providing they can make the reduced specification fit, without looking as if a large console has been cut down and butchered around, just to take the refit.

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Visited Lancaster on Saturday, and picked up a glossy leaflet/fund raiser in the Priory about plans for the replacement of the notorious Makin electronic.

 

DT

 

 

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

 

 

 

My apologies, but I regard this as a depressing project; as if nothing has been learned for almost a century. No doubt, if the idea goes ahead, Lancaster will become a musical Edwardian theme-park: Norman & Beard in the Town Hall, Willis 2 & Harrison in the Priory, Ainscough at the RC Cathedral; steam trains at Carnforth. I don't know why they don't just go the full hog, and grab the Barry Island, (S Wales) Christie theatre-organ whilst they're at it.

 

Considering that a few miles down the road, there is a splendid, and far more worthy, large 3-manual William Hill, (with a superb case), up for grabs, with reliable tracker-action; the whole project beggars belief.

 

MM

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STOP PRESS - CROSS-BORDER BACKLASH!

 

I have it on very good authority that, not to be out-done, a certain Yorkshire church has sent a drawstop back to the engravers.

The stop will now be known as 'Grand Old Duke of York Tuba Mirabilis 8'

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STOP PRESS - CROSS-BORDER BACKLASH!

 

I have it on very good authority that, not to be out-done, a certain Yorkshire church has sent a drawstop back to the engravers.

The stop will now be known as 'Grand Old Duke of York Tuba Mirabilis 8'

 

 

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

 

 

That would have to be a Hill stop. :rolleyes:

 

MM

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Guest Patrick Coleman
======================

 

 

That would have to be a Hill stop. :rolleyes:

 

MM

 

Not a Hill Start? :P

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Not a Hill Start? B)

 

 

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

 

 

I think a divided Grand old Duke of York Mirabilus should be a divided register...half-way up, and halfway down,

 

This could develop into a Christmas Theme for silly organ-stop names.....Party horns a speciality!

 

MM

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STOP PRESS - CROSS-BORDER BACKLASH!

 

I have it on very good authority that, not to be out-done, a certain Yorkshire church has sent a drawstop back to the engravers.

The stop will now be known as 'Grand Old Duke of York Tuba Mirabilis 8'

 

And here it is

 

P

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