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Mander Organ Builders Forum

Pietermaritzburg City Hall, South Africa.

John Mitchell

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The organ is the largest and finest instrument built by Brindley & Foster. It was designed by Sir George Martin (St. Paul's Cathedral) and installed in 1903. Martin liked the B&F pipe-work and voicing, but despised their patented actions. He insisted that the Pietermaritzburg organ must have normal slider chests and that was how it was built. It was renovated in the late 70's by Colin Hele.and thus escaped the attentions of Willis IV who was touring the country 'rebuilding' several organs with terrible results. Fortunately the Pietermarizburg council couldn't afford his price, so the local builder, Colin Hele got the job and the renovation was superb. As city music director I had the great pleasure of taking charge of the organ for 12 years. Colin and I looked after it like our baby. I hear now that it's been allowed to deteriorate although it is still playable It can still be heard and seen on YouTube and is certainly worth a visit.

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