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Here is another really attractive organ in my diocese at St Mary's Church, Fawkham.  The organ was built by Bishops in 1925 and restored recently   by the same companywith the addition of a Fifteenth 2 to the Great.  This is an unusual organ as it was a new mechanical action organ.  The voicing is really quite lovely, verging on the refined style of voicing favoured by Harrison organs built around the same period.  I've attended one recital and given another at this church and again, the organ is remarkable versatile for such an outwardly unpromising stoplist. 

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N14770

I think that the manual compass also extends 61 notes which is really quite generous for a small village church organ.

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Christ's College Chapel, Cambridge.  The case probably by Quarles (it used to be assumed that all these Cambridge cases were by Father Smith), the organ rather nicely rebuilt by Bishop & Son in 1983 in a pleasantly archaic style, a bit like Framlingham or St. Margaret, Lothbury, City of London.  I have a slight claim to fame with this one because I went there with the Organ Club when it was very nearly finished and demonstrated it to the assembled mob, thus giving me the slightly dodgy claim to have given the opening recital on it.  I remember it because I drew the Pedal Mixture at one point and the knob came off in my hand (it hadn't been glued in, or the pipes installed at that point).

The stop-list I have differs somewhat from that in NPOR and is as follows:

Great: Open Diapason, Stopped Diapason, Principal, Flute, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Tierce, Mixture III-IV, Trumpet

Choir: Stopped Diapason, Principal, Four Foot Flute (sic), Gemshorn 2, Quint 1 1/3, Mixture III, Crumhorn

Pedal: Bourdon 16, Principal 8, Gedeckt 8, Octave 4, Mixture III, Posaune 16, Trumpet 8

 

 

Image result for christ's college cambridge chapel organ

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Still in Cambridge, Emmanuel College.  A fine pair of cases, again once attributed to Smith but now not so certain (and possibly not both originally from the same organ).  The instrument by Kenneth Jones and very fine and well suited to the building.  I remember its predecessor, too, which was Norman & Beard, perked up in consultation with George Guest, and notable for having Austin-style Universal Windchests (a clever design: you could walk around inside them with the wind on).

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09198

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N09198&Number=4

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I hope forumites will not mind me hogging this thread, but it has caught my imagination.  I am beginning to wonder if English churches deserve quite the reputation they have for ugly looking organs.  I know there are a lot of lumpy pipe-racks about, but the more I think about it, the more I find that there are a lot of nice cases too. Also, although we think of all the beautiful cases to be found in Europe, I wonder if there are also a lot of nondescript boxes as well, to say nothing of the fact that (in France, for example) one can quite often find quite a large church with no organ at all.  Similarly, in Ireland there are a lot of massive buildings (mainly Roman Catholic) with just an apology of a toaster skulking somewhere.

Here are a couple of examples in small Suffolk churches:

The Robert Gray chamber organ of 1777 at Naughton

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00097

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D00097&Number=1

And the c. 1830 John Gray organ (ex-Ubbeston) at Elmsett (a rather distant, but clear enough, picture from Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches site):

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=H00671

looking west

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1988 is right - the organ was built by Peter Collins, replacing the previous Harrison/Prested instrument which was destroyed in a fire. The casework is inspired by the style of woodwork which appeared in the area after the Commonwealth, during the bishopric of John Cosin.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09193

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20 hours ago, David Drinkell said:

I hope forumites will not mind me hogging this thread, but it has caught my imagination.  I am beginning to wonder if English churches deserve quite the reputation they have for ugly looking organs.  I know there are a lot of lumpy pipe-racks about, but the more I think about it, the more I find that there are a lot of nice cases too. Also, although we think of all the beautiful cases to be found in Europe, I wonder if there are also a lot of nondescript boxes as well, to say nothing of the fact that (in France, for example) one can quite often find quite a large church with no organ at all.  Similarly, in Ireland there are a lot of massive buildings (mainly Roman Catholic) with just an apology of a toaster skulking somewhere.

Here are a couple of examples in small Suffolk churches:

The Robert Gray chamber organ of 1777 at Naughton

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00097

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D00097&Number=1

And the c. 1830 John Gray organ (ex-Ubbeston) at Elmsett (a rather distant, but clear enough, picture from Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches site):

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=H00671

looking west

I wonder about the same things over here. I know some sadly did not have the money to afford an organ case when it was commissioned or built but English organs are versatile and friendly to use! I think I would rather have a good sounding/playing organ that is ugly rather than a flamboyant looking horribly out of tune organ.

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I think it's true to say that many Victorian architects either had little conception of what a good case should look like or else believed that uncased pipes were more authentically medieval looking.  It's certainly true that some organ builders, Father Willis was one, begrudged money being spent on cases when it could be spent on pipes.  Then again, there are a number of examples where a case was designed but not provided and the organ sits there with elaborately arranged pipes but no case.  Truro and Perth Cathedrals are examples. Guildford Cathedral has a rather uninspired front to the main organ and I think an opportunity was missed.  Edwin Maufe  was not particularly noted for organ cases, but the nave case at Bradford Cathedral was an interesting piece of work, sadly removed some years ago and replaced with an electronic division replicating what had previously been pipes.  The chancel case is quite pretty, if not exactly mind-blowing.

Back to little old organs, this is the Nicholson at Mount Bures, Essex.  I used to play this one quite a lot in my youth when I was organist at the neighbouring parish of Wormingford and the Mont Bures organist (who was a policeman) was on duty.  NPOR's date of 1922 is a misprint - Clutton and Niland give c. 1840, which is probably close.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N18700

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N18700&Number=2

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Edwardstone, Suffolk - both Bernard Edmonds and the Suffolk organ historian John Ince remarked on traditions that some of the pipes came from Father Smith's organ for the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.  Martin of Oxford assembled the organ in Bodley's case in 1879 and Cedric Arnold pulled it together in 1970 (I was at the opening).  Peter Bumstead restored and enhanced it in 1998.  The lower case is rather more maroon than the candy-colour which appears in the picture. The uppermost portion gives a truer idea.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05284

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D05284&Number=1

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23 hours ago, David Drinkell said:

1988 is right - the organ was built by Peter Collins, replacing the previous Harrison/Prested instrument which was destroyed in a fire. The casework is inspired by the style of woodwork which appeared in the area after the Commonwealth, during the bishopric of John Cosin.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N09193

I was there when it arrived, and helped Peter Collins, and his team bring it into the church

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Two historic Essex organs, both of which were thoroughly knackered (a technical term I heard used by Henry Willis 4 to describe the organ in the Alexandra Palace) when I first knew them over forty years ago but which nevertheless continued to play until scholarly restorations took place.

Harwich Church - Flight & Robson 1821 - is reputed to have been brought here from London in a barge which sank in the harbour and had to be salvaged. It was in a shocking state when I played it in about 1970, and had apparently been so for many years before that, but it soldiered on until Peter Bumstead restored it in 1992.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N08670

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N08670&Number=2

 

Thaxted - Henry Lincoln, also 1821 - seems to have been worn out even when Gustav Holst was organist in the 1920s and was kept going by local organ builders Cedric Arnold and Peter Wood (the latter was organist here as well) until Goetze & Gwynn restored it in 2014.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N18436

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N18436&Number=3

One reason why the Thaxted organ survived unspoiled was that Cedric Arnold, in 1952, provided another organ at the west end, with case and pipe-work by George Pike England.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02744

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D02744&Number=1

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Lythe Church, Yorkshire - an octopod by Norman & Beard 1911, but charming nevertheless.  The case is by Sir Walter Tapper and the console, a massive item squatting to the north of the chancel like a hibernating Wurlitzer, has N&B's "disc and button" double miniature draw-stop system.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N02981

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N02981&Number=1

 

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N02981&Number=2

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All this talk of Smith and Bodley compels me to mention these two instruments, both of which I have a passing acquaintance with.

 

Chapel of the (former) Bishop's Palace, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham.

 

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index

 

Initially a 1-manual by Smith in 1688, a second manual added by H&H in 1903. Sits high at the back of the chapel.

My wife is a local, and was one of the organists here while studying at Durham University, during David Jenkins' time as Bishop of Durham. She remembers him fondly, and there were no recorded lightning strikes - not in Durham, at least 😉

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N13277

 

Immaculate Conception, Stroud, Gloucestershire

 

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index

 

A rather splendid case, actually a copy of another Bodley case (see NPOR for details). Unusual, from my limited knowledge, in originally being built for, and now still in, a Catholic church. I vaguely remember playing this once, many years ago, and when I was even less competent than I am now to comment on its merits, but I certainly enjoyed it.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D06533

 

 

I think this just fits within the "rules" of this thread: my favourite modern case is that of Clifton Cathedral in Bristol, probably a biased view because I in effect grew up with it and heard it a lot at an impressionable age, although I've never actually played it. 

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index

If one of Picasso's principles of painting was to allow the viewer to see a subject from several different perspectives simultaneously, then this is a Picasso of an instrument. One could easily imaging it rendered as a straightforward neo-baroque 3-manual hanging off a rear gallery, but who could start from that traditional arrangement and end up with this? It suits the building, which I also like, very well - perhaps it's just because I am a child of my time and these were both brand new when I became aware of these things. In fact, I think it is a more attractive instrument and sits better in its place than it's larger contemporary sibling in Freiburg Minster, and several other hexagonal Rieger cases from the period (yes, even Ratzeburg), although the latter two are superb towns/churches/organs to visit and well worth the trip.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N01276

I also have to say that Clifton also represents a type of asymmetric but balanced organ case which I find attractive. In particular, our hosts Mander have produced a number of such cases, for some reason often in Japan. I think are successful as they are balanced and complete by themselves, but do not appear to be missing a complementary "twin" on the other side of a chancel.

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I remember Clifton Cathedral from student days.  A fine example of its type, immaculately planned and engineered as usual with Rieger (Josef von Glatter-Gotz was a genius), and more versatile than might at first appear.  I like the building, too.  Revisiting some twenty years later, I thought it sounded rather less spiky than I remembered.  I wonder if this was due to revoicing, the effect of age, dust and incense, or just a change in my hearing facilities!

Speaking of Father Smith and Durham, the Chaire case of Smith's cathedral organ is in Tunstall's Chapel in Durham Castle, looking very well and containing a very nice little Arthur Harrison organ, slightly modified.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D00489

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D00489&Number=2 

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Gone, but not forgotten.....

St. Jude's, Thornton Heath, Surrey - Henry Willis III 1930. An enormous organ for quite a small church (there were plans to extend it by two bays, but it would still not have been large), all enclosed in swell boxes (Great, Swell, Choir, Chancel. Pedal divided between them and all controlled by a switchboard, which enabled any box to be controlled from any of the four patent "Infinite Speed and Gradation" pedals).  Certainly one of Willis III's finest instruments, possibly his largest new organ (as opposed to a rebuild) after Liverpool, Westminster Cathedral and Sheffield City Hall, and close enough to his works for him to use it to show off to clients.  Alas, it was too much for the parish to maintain, especially in latter years when the local population was predominantly non-Christian.  It was replaced by an electronic in the 1980s and purchased by Carlo Curley to save it from being scrapped.  Subsequently, it is said to have gone to Japan to be installed in a concert hall, but I don't know if that ever happened.  Being all-enclosed, there were no cases with pipes, although the west organ had quite a handsome screen (a plainer one in the chancel), but the console was quite a piece of kit - all bells and whistles in the latest Willis style, influenced by his visits to Ernest Skinner in America (shown here in its last years when it was a bit the worse for wear).  In the picture of the west screen, note the little red light, top centre.  This was a reminder that the wind was on!

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N13491

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N13491&Number=1

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N13491&Number=3

 

 

It really was one heck of a fine beast...….

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And on the subject of pipe-less screens, the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook, Suffolk has what is said to be the largest example in Europe.  The organ itself is a magnificent example of Hill, Norman & Beard's work, 1933.  The late Reg Lane, who cared for it for many years and whose pride and joy it was, said that it was an ideal opportunity for HN&B - an open west-gallery position in which no part got in the way of anything else, a large and resonant building, and money no object.  The tonal scheme is unaltered.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00981

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N00981&Number=6

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N00981&Number=2

 

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8 hours ago, David Drinkell said:

Gone, but not forgotten.....

St. Jude's, Thornton Heath, Surrey - Henry Willis III 1930. An enormous organ for quite a small church (there were plans to extend it by two bays, but it would still not have been large), all enclosed in swell boxes (Great, Swell, Choir, Chancel. Pedal divided between them and all controlled by a switchboard, which enabled any box to be controlled from any of the four patent "Infinite Speed and Gradation" pedals).  Certainly one of Willis III's finest instruments, possibly his largest new organ (as opposed to a rebuild) after Liverpool, Westminster Cathedral and Sheffield City Hall, and close enough to his works for him to use it to show off to clients.  Alas, it was too much for the parish to maintain, especially in latter years when the local population was predominantly non-Christian.  It was replaced by an electronic in the 1980s and purchased by Carlo Curley to save it from being scrapped.  Subsequently, it is said to have gone to Japan to be installed in a concert hall, but I don't know if that ever happened.  Being all-enclosed, there were no cases with pipes, although the west organ had quite a handsome screen (a plainer one in the chancel), but the console was quite a piece of kit - all bells and whistles in the latest Willis style, influenced by his visits to Ernest Skinner in America (shown here in its last years when it was a bit the worse for wear).  In the picture of the west screen, note the little red light, top centre.  This was a reminder that the wind was on!

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N13491

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N13491&Number=1

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=N13491&Number=3

 

 

It really was one heck of a fine beast...….

Thanks David for including St Judes Thorton Heath’s final console and west end case...all I had seen previously  were the photos in Rotunda Vol 3 no 3 showing organ under construction at west end and console at opening without infinite speed and gradation dials which must have been added later.

Reading Willis III ‘s article and specification shows what an amount of planning went into this fully enclosed organ and its control from the console .

 

philipmgwright

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Not all English cathedrals have beautiful organ cases, but Stephen Dykes Bower's double-fronted screen case at Norwich is superb.  I believe the organ is shortly to undergo restoration by Harrisons'.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D05016

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D05016&Number=1

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D05016&Number=2

Southwell is not so well known, but it has a double-fronted case by Caroe.  He designed a number of good cases, but Southwell is perhaps his best.  Nicholsons' organ looks to be a fine conception, too, as does the nave organ by Wood of Huddersfield.  I haven't yet heard either of them.  The last time I was in Southwell Minster was in1971 when the organ was in bits for the previous rebuild - I had lunch in a local pub afterwards and John Norman was in there for the same reason.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=D02714

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D02714&Number=1

XMLFunctions.cgi?Fn=GetPicture&Rec_index=D02714&Number=3

 

 

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