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UK 5-manuals?


ross cobb

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Just on idle facebook chatter with some friends got me wondering- how many 5-manual organs are there in the UK? Now that Birmingham TH now has been reduced to 4, so does that mean there are only 8: Doncaster, Christ's Hospital, Wabbey, St Paul's, Wakefield, Liverpool, Odeon Leicester Sq, Manchester TH?

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Paul Derrett has the old 5-manual Tewkesbury Abbey Walker console for his house organ project, not sure how many manuals are in use

 

The last time I visited Paul several years ago he had much to do on his barn organ. The old Tewkesbury console was still under wraps and as a temporary measure he was using the former 3-manual console from Cheltenham Ladies College.

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Just on idle facebook chatter with some friends got me wondering- how many 5-manual organs are there in the UK? Now that Birmingham TH now has been reduced to 4, so does that mean there are only 8: Doncaster, Christ's Hospital, Wabbey, St Paul's, Wakefield, Liverpool, Odeon Leicester Sq, Manchester TH?

 

Are you not forgetting Westminster Abbey?

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I was going to say "What about the 5-manual Conacher at Calne?" - But I see that it was reduced to 4 manuals some years ago.

I think you could make that "many years ago". It was a four manual when I played it in 1976 (NPOR says 1963 for when Conacher removed the top manual and slightly redistributed the contents. It was presented by Henry Harris (the Bacon King) of Castle House, Calne, which also had a five manual Conacher. The latter is misrepresented in NPOR, which only gives it four manuals (there is a picture of the console in "The Organ") and states that the Solo Organ was prepared only (the same article refers specifically to blowing pipes of the Stentor by mouth).

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I think you could make that "many years ago". It was a four manual when I played it in 1976 (NPOR says 1963 for when Conacher removed the top manual and slightly redistributed the contents. It was presented by Henry Harris (the Bacon King) of Castle House, Calne, which also had a five manual Conacher. The latter is misrepresented in NPOR, which only gives it four manuals (there is a picture of the console in "The Organ") and states that the Solo Organ was prepared only (the same article refers specifically to blowing pipes of the Stentor by mouth).

That will teach me to read more frequently the Sumner that I had as a teenager! :D

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There are a few former Conacher staff still about who worked at Calne in 1963. I remember being told that the Castle House organ was removed by them in the 1950's, some of the pipework being re-used in subsequent rebuildings of other instruments. The small Echo divison of this latter instrument had its own swell box, housed within the Solo swell box.

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There are a few former Conacher staff still about who worked at Calne in 1963. I remember being told that the Castle House organ was removed by them in the 1950's, some of the pipework being re-used in subsequent rebuildings of other instruments. The small Echo divison of this latter instrument had its own swell box, housed within the Solo swell box.

That ties in with recent discussion on another thread about swell boxes within swell boxes.

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With tongue firmly in cheek, may I very naughtily point out that our host's website says the RAH organ has five manuals!

 

(see http://www.mander-organs.com/portfolio/ . Scroll down to "The Grand Organ, Royal Albert Hall, London")

 

This might be an old version, but at the time of writing the link was live and the page was indeed on the web!

 

If I were our host, I'd say something like "there always has to be one, doesn't there ... ", and quite probably not as politely as that.

 

Pace.

 

CEP

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The removal of the Castle House, Calne Conacher in the 1950s makes sense. Henry George Harris died in 1932 but his widow Amy stayed on in the house until her death at the age of 88 in September 1949. Castle House then passed out of the Harris family and presumably the new owners saw no need of the organ.

I recall hearing the St Mary's Conacher in its 5 manual form: the Bentley Grammar School choir and orchestra gave a performance of Faure's Requiem there in 1961 - to raise funds for the restoration of the organ! This was to be the 1963 work.

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I don't know if it still exists, but did there not used to be a mock-up of the St Paul's console in the organist's house? Does that count?!

 

Wouldn't that be fun with a wireless connection? :rolleyes:

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There is of course the 5 manual toaster at Hammerwood Park, with its 64' and 128' effects and all...............................

I asked David Pinnegar's son why the organ only had five manuals. He replied, "Dad hasn't had time to fix the sixth manual yet".

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Are you sure? It wasn't there in John Dykes-Bower's or Christopher Dearnley's time.

if I am correct, I think it dates from the first Mander rebuild. can't remember how i heard about it but i don't think I'm dreaming....... Anyone......?

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