Colin Pykett Posted July 20, 2014 Share Posted July 20, 2014 The four manual console of the Hope-Jones organ formerly in St Paul's, Burton upon Trent, is well preserved and currently in the care of the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust in Manchester. While still in the church about twenty years ago as part of the then-dismantled organ, it was well described by Relf Clark as "even now, a striking composition, and one can well imagine the stir it created nearly one hundred years ago, with its stop-keys, novel stop-names and light touch" (Organists' Review, March 1991, page 36). Just so, and it's worth a visit just to 'play' on it to confirm his impressions for yourself. (There were almost certainly some modifications made to the original during its long lifetime, but they seem to have been relatively minor). Thus one gets to understand how Hope-Jones largely set the standards for the 'feel' and general playing experience of fully electric action detached consoles which have remained pretty much unchanged ever since, at least those using stop keys (well, actually tilting tablets in this case to be precise). The workmanship in this console, both externally and internally, is superb. The LTOT also have another four manual H-J console, that from St Modwen's which was also at Burton (to be rigorous, this organ was actually built by Norman and Beard but mainly to H-J's electrical and tonal design and with the use of his patented components, though the workmanship is not quite to the same standard in some respects). It has a different stop action, using stop keys rather than the tilting tablets of the St Paul's one, this difference reflecting the continuous and rapid evolution which H-J's motorised combination actions underwent. Again, it's intriguing to be able to 'play' it, and for this we should thank the LTOT for their sterling work and regard for organ history. Their unique Hope-Jones museum is well worth a visit for those with the inclination, as there are also many other H-J artefacts there such as pipework, chests and other action components. Then there remains the four manual instrument at Battersea Arts Centre (formerly the Town Hall) which as far as I know is now partly playable. Like St Modwen's this was a Hope-Jones/Norman and Beard creation, and it also has stop keys though these are operated with yet another version of H-J's electropneumatic combination mechanism. Currently I believe a full restoration is still planned, though waiting for enough funds to materialise. CEP Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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