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Jonathan Thorne

The Future of Manders

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Any idea what is going on at Manders anyone? The portfolio and news is seriously out of date and lacking in care. Is this an image to portray for once a very good firm? Maybe this is why costumers are going abroad for work?? Please Manders sort it out - we do care.

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Dear All,

 

There is plenty going on and not enough time to talk about it! Firstly, the new 31 stop organ for Cranleigh School is very near completion. I have spent the last three weeks there doing the tonal finishing. The organ is built on a new gallery which has not been finished due to lack of funds, so it will be a while before we get some decent pictures. It has its first outing this weekend.

 

Some thirty years ago we reconstructed the interesting organ provided for Pembroke College Cambridge by Charles Quarles, often attributed to Father Smith. That interesting project was the first attempt to reconstruct a late seventeenth century English church organ (as opposed to chamber organ). The organ is currently being cleaned.

 

In the works at the moment is the Walker organ from Sacred Heart Wimbledon. This is undergoing a full restoration, completing the interim work done in the 1980s. We agreed with the church that the pneumatic action should be retained, so we are having an interesting time dealing with that. Our impression is that we might have been the only organ builders who were prepared to retain and restore the pneumatic action. This even stretches to the original pneumatic pistons for which there is a remarkable bit of early 20th century organbuilder's engineering which needs restoration.

 

Finally, we are currently part of the way through a new organ for a church in Lagos, Nigeria. This is a three manual instruent instrument of 41 stops.

 

The reason we have not done too much to the web site (apologies for this) is that we are planning a complete revamp of that, but time is simply not allowing that to get done. In the meantime we are not changing anything on the existing one because of the intended updating.

 

But we are still here beavering away in Bethnal Green.

 

John

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Many thanks for the info John and I hope all will be a success including the Walker which is of interest, as I play a Walker from 1898 here in Birmingham that still retains its original charge pneumatic action and pepper-pot reeds.

 

All best

 

J

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In the works at the moment is the Walker organ from Sacred Heart Wimbledon. This is undergoing a full restoration, completing the interim work done in the 1980s. We agreed with the church that the pneumatic action should be retained, so we are having an interesting time dealing with that. Our impression is that we might have been the only organ builders who were prepared to retain and restore the pneumatic action. This even stretches to the original pneumatic pistons for which there is a remarkable bit of early 20th century organbuilder's engineering which needs restoration.

 

Rods and backs spring to mind by the description. What's so "interesting" about the action? When, historically, do you think organ builders used such complicated pneumatic mechanics not out of choice but because the technology to simply things hugely with electropneumatic actions wasn't yet mature? Would they have used such a complex action had they built it a mere twenty years later?

 

Could you have started again from scratch but with a completely differently designed pneumatic action? After all, the patents of Binns, Norman & Beard and the other pioneers of complex, successful and longlasting pneumatic actions have long since expired. Under what circumstances if ever would a seasoned builder ever consider building a large organ today brand new with a pneumatic action following the best of the historically proven designs, as opposed to mechanical or EP?

 

Finally, we are currently part of the way through a new organ for a church in Lagos, Nigeria. This is a three manual instruent instrument of 41 stops.

 

Nice to hear of more organs coming my way (though sadly I'm a few thousand miles from Lagos!) I hope they have a team of enthusiasts willing to learn and play, like here in Kenya or Uganda. Just make sure you pick a hotel with powerful airconditioning when you stay in Lagos! How does the climate (and the ubiquitous termites!) affect your choice of materials for somewhere tropical?

 

Contrabombarde

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Finally, we are currently part of the way through a new organ for a church in Lagos, Nigeria. This is a three manual instruent instrument of 41 stops.

John,

 

Thanks for the update. Good to know things are thriving at the works.

 

I touch wood that this organ won't suffer a similar fate, but which English builder was it who - when they tried to export an organ to Nigeria - never got to install it there because the vessel carrying the instrument sank on the way? I seem to recall it was mentioned in C&O at some point but I could be wrong and haven't time to look through my archives of C&O (which I have every issue of excluding issue 2).

 

TIA.

 

Dave

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