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Lost or threatened instruments


Christopher Price
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Can anyone shed some light on two particular organs in Greater Manchester, the first being the extraordinary 1930's-built HNB in the Champness Hall, Rochdale. It had been recorded perhaps just once, by George Blackmore, and I possess a copy of two pieces he played there that were broadcast on Radio 2 by Nigel Ogden some time ago. I gather that the recording was made back in the 80's, and the organ was really a smaller version of the monster at Holbrook! Has anyone ever played it? It sadly fell into decline many years ago, and has now been disposed of (with Jardine's taking the good material?). The spec on NPOR makes interesting reading, complete with tuned percussions, and in a 1000-seat auditorium. The building had been the Methodist Central Hall for the town, and hosted many fine concerts, including the Halle. One of our local association members played it regularly for some years, and he greatly regrets its demise.

 

The second organ is the apparent wreck sitting forlornly in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall. Is there any likelihood that this instrument will ever be rebuilt? I feel is a great pity that England's 'third' city has not kept pace with London and Birmingham in retaining a major concert-organ. I am not among those who consider that the Marcussen at the Bridgewater comes anywhere close to that accolade, and tantalising glimpses of the Great Hall on TV only serve to remind us that it is there.

 

Alright, it's a much-modified and extended job, with possibly little left of its original Cavaille-Coll character, but would it be beyond modern skills and knowledge to at least get it back to something worthwhile? It must have been wonderful in its day! I suspect it is simply another case of finances outweighing importance that nothing has been done to preserve it for many years.

 

Members might be interested to learn that the magnificent Binns at Rochdale Town Hall will reach its centenary in 2013, and plans are in place to celebrate this milestone with recitals and a special publication of works commissioned for the event.

 

CP

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Can anyone shed some light on two particular organs in Greater Manchester, the first being the extraordinary 1930's-built HNB in the Champness Hall, Rochdale. It had been recorded perhaps just once, by George Blackmore, and I possess a copy of two pieces he played there that were broadcast on Radio 2 by Nigel Ogden some time ago. I gather that the recording was made back in the 80's, and the organ was really a smaller version of the monster at Holbrook! Has anyone ever played it? It sadly fell into decline many years ago, and has now been disposed of (with Jardine's taking the good material?). The spec on NPOR makes interesting reading, complete with tuned percussions, and in a 1000-seat auditorium. The building had been the Methodist Central Hall for the town, and hosted many fine concerts, including the Halle. One of our local association members played it regularly for some years, and he greatly regrets its demise.

 

The second organ is the apparent wreck sitting forlornly in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall. Is there any likelihood that this instrument will ever be rebuilt? I feel is a great pity that England's 'third' city has not kept pace with London and Birmingham in retaining a major concert-organ. I am not among those who consider that the Marcussen at the Bridgewater comes anywhere close to that accolade, and tantalising glimpses of the Great Hall on TV only serve to remind us that it is there.

 

Alright, it's a much-modified and extended job, with possibly little left of its original Cavaille-Coll character, but would it be beyond modern skills and knowledge to at least get it back to something worthwhile? It must have been wonderful in its day! I suspect it is simply another case of finances outweighing importance that nothing has been done to preserve it for many years.

 

Members might be interested to learn that the magnificent Binns at Rochdale Town Hall will reach its centenary in 2013, and plans are in place to celebrate this milestone with recitals and a special publication of works commissioned for the event.

 

CP

I'm fairly certain that the Champness Hall organ remains in situ, and "available", as I recall seeing details on the IBO redundant instrument listings recently.

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Members might be interested to learn that the magnificent Binns at Rochdale Town Hall will reach its centenary in 2013, and plans are in place to celebrate this milestone with recitals and a special publication of works commissioned for the event.

CP

I fondly remember the time I played here in the last century - such an experience in many ways. The room is extraordinary as is the whole building. The organ was/is a most strong and individual voice too. The knowledge that Gracie Fields greeted her adoring public from one the windows was icing on the day. May the celebrations be great and wonderful. But I am perturbed to read about this under Lost or threatened instruments etc. I trust not.

N

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I fondly remember the time I played here in the last century - such an experience in many ways. The room is extraordinary as is the whole building. The organ was/is a most strong and individual voice too. The knowledge that Gracie Fields greeted her adoring public from one the windows was icing on the day. May the celebrations be great and wonderful. But I am perturbed to read about this under Lost or threatened instruments etc. I trust not.

N

 

 

Fear not, Nigel! The Town Hall organ is very much alive and safe. The comment I made was merely an additional one within the thread, and not to include it in any way with the other two organs therein mentioned being the subject of either now-lost or potentially lost instruments!

 

CP

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Fear not, Nigel! The Town Hall organ is very much alive and safe. The comment I made was merely an additional one within the thread, and not to include it in any way with the other two organs therein mentioned being the subject of either now-lost or potentially lost instruments!

CP

 

Or "Fear not. I bring tidings of great joy". Hallelujah.

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Can anyone shed some light on two particular organs in Greater Manchester, the first being the extraordinary 1930's-built HNB in the Champness Hall, Rochdale. It had been recorded perhaps just once, by George Blackmore, and I possess a copy of two pieces he played there that were broadcast on Radio 2 by Nigel Ogden some time ago. I gather that the recording was made back in the 80's, and the organ was really a smaller version of the monster at Holbrook! Has anyone ever played it? It sadly fell into decline many years ago, and has now been disposed of (with Jardine's taking the good material?). The spec on NPOR makes interesting reading, complete with tuned percussions, and in a 1000-seat auditorium. The building had been the Methodist Central Hall for the town, and hosted many fine concerts, including the Halle. One of our local association members played it regularly for some years, and he greatly regrets its demise.

 

The second organ is the apparent wreck sitting forlornly in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall. Is there any likelihood that this instrument will ever be rebuilt? I feel is a great pity that England's 'third' city has not kept pace with London and Birmingham in retaining a major concert-organ. I am not among those who consider that the Marcussen at the Bridgewater comes anywhere close to that accolade, and tantalising glimpses of the Great Hall on TV only serve to remind us that it is there.

 

Alright, it's a much-modified and extended job, with possibly little left of its original Cavaille-Coll character, but would it be beyond modern skills and knowledge to at least get it back to something worthwhile? It must have been wonderful in its day! I suspect it is simply another case of finances outweighing importance that nothing has been done to preserve it for many years.

 

Members might be interested to learn that the magnificent Binns at Rochdale Town Hall will reach its centenary in 2013, and plans are in place to celebrate this milestone with recitals and a special publication of works commissioned for the event.

 

CP

 

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

 

I am certainly aware of the organ at the Champness Hall, and saddened to think that it may be under threat.

 

The Town Hall organ may need work, but it was all working the last time I played/heard it.

 

As for the character of the instrument, it is still very much Cavaille-Coll, but lest we forget, the organ was enlarged by Lewis BY APPROVAL OF CAVAILLE-COLL HIMSELF.

 

It may not be the typical Cavaille-Coll, but somehow, that fits the cosmopolitan nature of Manchester rather well, where all sorts of influences existed concurrently.

 

MM

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

 

The Town Hall organ may need work, but it was all working the last time I played/heard it.

 

As for the character of the instrument, it is still very much Cavaille-Coll, but lest we forget, the organ was enlarged by Lewis

 

BY APPROVAL OF CAVAILLE-COLL HIMSELF.

 

 

MM

 

That isn't possible actually: Lewis (&Co) did work in 1911/12 but CC was dead in 1900.

 

DW

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I wasn't going to post in this topic, mostly because I know of so many instruments that are 'under threat'.

 

 

However, one has very recently appeared on the IBO Redundant Organs List that both thoroughly deserves and needs a good new home. It is at St.John's Bollington, Cheshire. Link:

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redu...amp;Submit=View

 

This may appear to be a mere run-of-the-mill two-manual Victorian tracker, with a slightly curious stoplist but no, I assure you, this is a historic musical instrument of the highest quality. Renn's pipework is simply wonderful, as good as anything made that century, and his Stopped Diapasons are IMHO quite literally the best ever made. Anyone who wanted a first-rate organ to replace something inferior should look at this instrument very seriously. Worryingly, the IBO page notes that it must be removed very soon. I am always on the lookout for instruments to adopt because I have an informal list (of sorts) of those who want them.. nobody on my list has adequate room for this, but please, folks, please all take a look. If you like it, I hope for your sake that you are not looking on behalf of a CofE church because current progress of several faculties that know of seems so slow that by the time you have permission to rescue it may well have gone. At all costs it must not be scrapped!!

 

The cost of removing this and rebuilding this in a new home, together with a clean and overhaul at the same time might not to come to not much more more than an 'off the peg' two manual toaster and the difference in musical quality and visual splendour would be off the chart!

 

This instrument is the big brother of the Samuel Renn at St.Philip's Salford, which (restored by our kind host's father) bids fair to be one of the half dozen finest two-manual organs in the UK. I speak not in terms of stoplist or accessories - be honest, these are kids stuff - I speak of its Voice and build quality.

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Having played it a few times, I confirm that the Manchester Town Hall organ is something like an hybrid of ACC and Lewis.

I really hope it will NOT be "rebuilt" but simply restored as such, or just with minor alteration to improve one or two points that could be (in my very very humble opinion).

I regret I had no occasion to hear the Rochdale instrument then.

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http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redu...amp;Submit=View

 

The cost of removing this and rebuilding this in a new home, together with a clean and overhaul at the same time might not to come to not much more more than an 'off the peg' two manual toaster and the difference in musical quality and visual splendour would be off the chart!

 

I am on the lookout for an instrument. The church has voted not to purchase anything digital and the DAC has given them the faculty to install a refurbished pipe organ. Now we look for something sensible and possible. The one thing that I find a little difficult to understand with putting redundant organs on the register, is not to have some good photos of the case etc. There ought to be a link to a greater number somewhere I propose. Those on the register for this instrument are very tiny. I would never hope to sell a car or house without good informative pictures nor would I employ and install an au pair without one. So why no photos with many of these instruments?

Do you have any Paul?

Best wishes,

Nigel

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I am on the lookout for an instrument. The church has voted not to purchase anything digital and the DAC has given them the faculty to install a refurbished pipe organ. Now we look for something sensible and possible. The one thing that I find a little difficult to understand with putting redundant organs on the register, is not to have some good photos of the case etc. There ought to be a link to a greater number somewhere I propose. Those on the register for this instrument are very tiny. I would never hope to sell a car or house without good informative pictures nor would I employ and install an au pair without one. So why no photos with many of these instruments?

Do you have any Paul?

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

There's an excellent black and white photo in Michael Sayer's book on Samuel Renn. If you're desperate I could scan it for you, if so please PM me with your e-mail address.

 

I think there is another photo (though small) on the NPOR. Maybe a contact at the church itself could e-mail some photographs back to you if you contacted them via the internet. However ideal it might be for us to be able to pick up a lovely ready-made file on any organ that is available, surely, the onus must be on possible purchasers to put in the effort if they want something going this cheap - i.e. for nothing. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to make a few such trips than having to raise the money for a new one!

 

Surely, the best thing is to take your folks over there! Are they difficult to persuade? I'm about to go down 250+ miles south to take a friend to see a redundant organ and he's just looking for himself. He's got the sense to expect to put in a few miles before the ideal instrument is settled on. I wish he had room for the Renn, I really do!

 

I'd hope your church might soon get a team together for a little trip if they heard of a worthwhile instrument 'going begging'. Sadly, the time limit on this

one might scupper any possible rescue plan.

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There's an excellent black and white photo in Michael Sayer's book on Samuel Renn. If you're desperate I could scan it for you, if so please PM me with your e-mail address.

 

I think there is another photo (though small) on the NPOR. Maybe a contact at the church itself could e-mail some photographs back to you if you contacted them via the internet. However ideal it might be for us to be able to pick up a lovely ready-made file on any organ that is available, surely, the onus must be on possible purchasers to put in the effort if they want something going this cheap - i.e. for nothing. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to make a few such trips than having to raise the money for a new one!

 

Surely, the best thing is to take your folks over there! Are they difficult to persuade? I'm about to go down 250+ miles south to take a friend to see a redundant organ and he's just looking for himself. He's got the sense to expect to put in a few miles before the ideal instrument is settled on. I wish he had room for the Renn, I really do!

 

I'd hope your church might soon get a team together for a little trip if they heard of a worthwhile instrument 'going begging'. Sadly, the time limit on this

one might scupper any possible rescue plan.

 

Thanks Paul.

The church is ready and waiting NOW as they have the insurance money from the arson attack. They have already driven to different places to decide that they do not wish to have anything digital. As the bill for the church is about £2,000,000 they only have the insurance for the organ. Therefore, to transport and do up is within their budget reasonable budget. Howver, this might be a touch too large. I will see what can be done.

Thanks and best wishes,

N

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  • 2 months later...
I wasn't going to post in this topic, mostly because I know of so many instruments that are 'under threat'.

 

 

However, one has very recently appeared on the IBO Redundant Organs List that both thoroughly deserves and needs a good new home. It is at St.John's Bollington, Cheshire. Link:

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redu...amp;Submit=View

 

This may appear to be a mere run-of-the-mill two-manual Victorian tracker, with a slightly curious stoplist but no, I assure you, this is a historic musical instrument of the highest quality. Renn's pipework is simply wonderful, as good as anything made that century, and his Stopped Diapasons are IMHO quite literally the best ever made. Anyone who wanted a first-rate organ to replace something inferior should look at this instrument very seriously. Worryingly, the IBO page notes that it must be removed very soon. I am always on the lookout for instruments to adopt because I have an informal list (of sorts) of those who want them.. nobody on my list has adequate room for this, but please, folks, please all take a look. If you like it, I hope for your sake that you are not looking on behalf of a CofE church because current progress of several faculties that know of seems so slow that by the time you have permission to rescue it may well have gone. At all costs it must not be scrapped!!

 

The cost of removing this and rebuilding this in a new home, together with a clean and overhaul at the same time might not to come to not much more more than an 'off the peg' two manual toaster and the difference in musical quality and visual splendour would be off the chart!

 

This instrument is the big brother of the Samuel Renn at St.Philip's Salford, which (restored by our kind host's father) bids fair to be one of the half dozen finest two-manual organs in the UK. I speak not in terms of stoplist or accessories - be honest, these are kids stuff - I speak of its Voice and build quality.

 

I see that this organ has been removed from the IBO list - any news on where it has gone?

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I see that this organ has been removed from the IBO list - any news on where it has gone?

 

The church was open for the final time on Sunday 16th January, and I played it then. It was a very emotional time for the parishoners to hear the organ for the final time. I believe it is going to a church in Gloucestershire.

 

ATB

 

Sam

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The church was open for the final time on Sunday 16th January, and I played it then. It was a very emotional time for the parishoners to hear the organ for the final time. I believe it is going to a church in Gloucestershire.

 

ATB

 

Sam

 

 

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

 

 

This is wonderful news, and fully justifies the redundant organs scheme. Being familiar with the Renn at Salford, I know just how fine Renn's instruments are.

 

MM

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Has anybody noted this Birkenhead instrument up for grabs?

 

 

http://www.ibo.co.uk/IBO2005/services/redu...iew&index=0

 

Instrument ref 275.

 

Poyser of Chester is not a builder most have heard of. However I have played this one by Poyser, which is near Chester. http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D08363

 

As far as I am aware the Eccleston instrument is entirely Poyser built (not a rebuild of the previous instrument)- the previous Gray and Davison was not a success for some reason. This 1910 instrument is one of the finest small instruments I have ever played. Honest - the spec is somewhat ordinary I know, but the quality of the voicing is just magnificent. Creamy, lucious flutes, gentle warm strings, bold diapasons, smooth oboe, fiery cornopean. Lovely action, with a good firm touch. Mechanical octave couplers too! Henry Poyser was obviously a very talented organ builder, shame the firm didn't have more prestige. (They had the maintenance contract at Chester Cathedral for a long time I believe)

 

So I wonder what this redundant instrument will be like - high praise according to the advert. Anyone ever seen or heard it? It's very small, and I just thought it may be of interest to someone for a small chapel, church or house. I bet this one is really worth having.

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That isn't possible actually: Lewis (&Co) did work in 1911/12 but CC was dead in 1900.

 

DW

 

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

 

 

I've been sitting on this for some time, and I'm frustrated.

 

I'm fairly certain that I read somewhere, that T C Lewis had enlarged the organ to four-manuals at Manchester Town Hall, using Cavaille-Coll bits and pieces, and then later re-building the instrument as a 5-manual one in 1911.

 

The touble is, I've combed my usual sources and archives, but I simply cannot find reference to it.

 

I wonder if anyone knows anything about T C Lewis working on behalf of Cavaille-Coll at ManchesterTown Hall?

 

(Hence my use of the term "under the approval of C-C)

 

MM

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

 

 

I've been sitting on this for some time, and I'm frustrated.

 

I'm fairly certain that I read somewhere, that T C Lewis had enlarged the organ to four-manuals at Manchester Town Hall, using Cavaille-Coll bits and pieces, and then later re-building the instrument as a 5-manual one in 1911.

 

The touble is, I've combed my usual sources and archives, but I simply cannot find reference to it.

 

I wonder if anyone knows anything about T C Lewis working on behalf of Cavaille-Coll at ManchesterTown Hall?

 

(Hence my use of the term "under the approval of C-C)

 

MM

 

I think that you might be confusing two episodes:

 

Wadsworth added the Solo organ, in collaboration with Cavaille-Coll (C-C sent out the parts and Wadsworth put it in).

 

DW

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I think that you might be confusing two episodes:

 

Wadsworth added the Solo organ, in collaboration with Cavaille-Coll (C-C sent out the parts and Wadsworth put it in).

 

DW

 

 

------------------------------

 

Thank you for the information. I knew there was something odd about the first enlargement, but quite where I almost certainly read that Lewis had done the work, rather than Wadsworth, I cannot recall.

 

Of course, the lewis organ at Stockport was remarkable, in that it demonstrated a certain French influence, to the design of Kendrick Pyne I believe.

 

Manchester and the surrounding area was nothing if not cosmopolitan at that time.

 

MM

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