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Now and Then

The Lewis At Teddington

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Greetings folks, this is my very first post as a new member.

Lewis At St. Alban Teddington - Pre Vandal Destruction

Do members have any first-hand experience of this sad instrument, please?

I played it just once in 1963 but can't recall the experience except to say that I remember there wasn't a case, so building frame, chests and pipework were laid bare.

Furthermore, I recall bee's buzzing around the console, because they had made nests in the bricked-up unfinished west wall. The Willis 3 console - if my memory serves me well - occupied a space in the western-end of the south nave aisle. The instrument was located in the eastern end of the north nave aisle. So presumably was moved from its pre-war north chancel position, perhaps post WWW2.
Overall though, a sense of being unloved and unfinished of church building and organ was felt.

Please share your memories.

 

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Hello, and whilst it's not my job to say so, "welcome to the board"! You'll find an interesting bunch here!!

St. Alban's Teddington is a church I don't know but it has a fascinating history. Known as the 'Cathedral of the Thames Valley', it was designed to be based on Notre Dame in Paris and designed to be a good deal larger than the building there today with a massive tower. The congregation moved out in 1967 and it was deconsecrated in 1977. It's now the Landmark Arts Centre. It appears that, according to the NPOR, the organ has been 'destroyed or broken up'.

I can think of a number of churches, built to grandiose proportions, fitted with magnificent accoutrements, sometimes including organs, that have not survived the zeal of those who built them. All Souls Halifax is no longer used for worship but, is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Holy Trinity Goodramgate in York (12th cent. but with considerable additions in the 19th cent. but with no organ ) and St Edmund's Rochdale (2 manual Hill organ with a magnificent case!) likewise.

 

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2 hours ago, S_L said:

Hello, and whilst it's not my job to say so, "welcome to the board"! You'll find an interesting bunch here!!

St. Alban's Teddington is a church I don't know but it has a fascinating history. Known as the 'Cathedral of the Thames Valley', it was designed to be based on Notre Dame in Paris and designed to be a good deal larger than the building there today with a massive tower. The congregation moved out in 1967 and it was deconsecrated in 1977. It's now the Landmark Arts Centre. It appears that, according to the NPOR, the organ has been 'destroyed or broken up'.

I can think of a number of churches, built to grandiose proportions, fitted with magnificent accoutrements, sometimes including organs, that have not survived the zeal of those who built them. All Souls Halifax is no longer used for worship but, is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Holy Trinity Goodramgate in York (12th cent. but with considerable additions in the 19th cent. but with no organ ) and St Edmund's Rochdale (2 manual Hill organ with a magnificent case!) likewise.

 

You have reminded me of Lancing College Chapel; Christ The King Gordon Square; St James Spanish Place to name just a few that I recall. I confess to having a passion for large pretentious church buildings!

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Other large Victorian piles........All Saint's Leamington Spa, St Matthew's Northampton, St Stephen's Bournemouth, Doncaster Minster, All Saint's Hove, etc. There must be loads! Most named so far also have stone vaults which is a relatively rare in a parish church?

The main topic of this thread (Teddington), reminds me of a huge church in Southend on Sea which suffered a similar fate, though this church was demolished (however, the organ was rescued and rehomed). 

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On 21/09/2017 at 07:31, S_L said:

Hello, and whilst it's not my job to say so, "welcome to the board"! You'll find an interesting bunch here!!

St. Alban's Teddington is a church I don't know but it has a fascinating history. Known as the 'Cathedral of the Thames Valley', it was designed to be based on Notre Dame in Paris and designed to be a good deal larger than the building there today with a massive tower. The congregation moved out in 1967 and it was deconsecrated in 1977. It's now the Landmark Arts Centre. It appears that, according to the NPOR, the organ has been 'destroyed or broken up'.

I can think of a number of churches, built to grandiose proportions, fitted with magnificent accoutrements, sometimes including organs, that have not survived the zeal of those who built them. All Souls Halifax is no longer used for worship but, is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Holy Trinity Goodramgate in York (12th cent. but with considerable additions in the 19th cent. but with no organ ) and St Edmund's Rochdale (2 manual Hill organ with a magnificent case!) likewise.

 

Somehow, my original reply to you in response to your kind welcome went astray.
So in appreciation, thank you for your kind welcome.


Although the Lewis at Teddington was sad by the time I played it in 1963, it was a Lewis, and sounded lovely  in the St Alban's acoustic.

Speaking of sad instruments has reminded me of Thornton Heath. Also, by 1963, that instrument was suffering from the frequent broken manual key contacts.
When that large instrument (in a small church) was donated, I'd wager, money was not an issue.
But when that donor died - perhaps leaving part of his estate to the ongoing maintenance of the instrument - church authorities can no longer raise the required large wads of cash to rebuild it. Which is, of course, a familiar scenario.

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I think I am right in saying St Jude's Thornton Heath sold their (large) organ to Carlo Curley and it was shipped to the USA awaiting rebuild there? I might be completely wrong and if so, no doubt, someone will put me right!

Richard

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6 hours ago, philipmgwright said:

Was it not shipped to Japan but is still awaiting renaissance?

philipmgwright

The NPOR gives:

1997 - in storage "somewhere in the country" the property of Carlo Curley, who bought it to save it from going for scrap;

1999 - organ appears to be in an organbuilder's workshop in Tokyo; (still there in 2009 (TGi);

2004 - believed to be destined for one of the (24) civic halls in Tokyo; (further information as to the organs current whereabouts would be appreciated -Ed.)

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On ‎21‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 20:54, OmegaConsort said:

Other large Victorian piles........All Saint's Leamington Spa, St Matthew's Northampton, St Stephen's Bournemouth, Doncaster Minster, All Saint's Hove, etc. There must be loads! 

 

But the difference between these and St. Alban's Teddington, and those others I listed, is that the above are still used for worship whereas St. Albans is now an Arts Centre and the others listed are in the care of the CCT and are, in effect, museums! 

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Yes I know - I was just thinking about large Victorian Churches in general, not so much whether they were still in use or not!

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I played at St. Jude's, Thornton Heath in the late seventies.  As mentioned above, by then it was in dire need of a restoration, but what a superb instrument it was!  I can hear it in my mind's ear still.....

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Yup - and a 32' reed!  It really was one heck of a lot of organ for a small church, but it fitted like a glove.

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As someone who lives in SW London but two miles away from the Landmark Arts Centre (St Alban's as was), I have often wondered wistfully what sort of instrument resided in that magnificent space...

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On 19/09/2017 at 11:51, Now and Then said:

TC Lewis At St. Alban Teddington - Pre Vandal Destruction

 

It seems that I have guided this thread to go 'off topic' My fault :) !

Back to original topic - Do members have any first-hand experience of this TC Lewis instrument, please?

Have you played it? What condition was it in?

With Thanks.

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