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St Mary's, Southampton

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I can’t answer your question as my contacts at St Mary’s have moved on elsewhere.  But by a strange quirk of fate, this has surfaced on the same day as John Robinson’s and David Drinkell’s discussion of HW III’s fuel-gauge swell indicators.  St Mary’s has two of them.

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I also learned at St. Mary’s Southampton for a year before the Collins at the university went in.

A

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18 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

I see that this is from May 2018. What's the current state of affairs?

Well, from the website, it looks as though "it's all happening." Not my scene in terms of church and music but it looks lively and busy which is more than can be said for many churches, unfortunately. 

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On 27/06/2019 at 09:10, Martin Cooke said:

Well, from the website, it looks as though "it's all happening." Not my scene in terms of church and music but it looks lively and busy which is more than can be said for many churches, unfortunately. 

I wonder what fate will befall the HWIII instrument in this church? I note that this is an HTB plant: one thing I do know, is that at their 'home' church of Holy Trinity, Brompton, not only is the large pipe organ regularly maintained, but I understand that it has had recent work, in addition to regular maintenance. This does at least sound as if the instrument is still in regular use there.

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Although the HTB organ has been restored recently, it is only used for weddings when requested, not on Sundays. Most HTB plants don't use the organ, if any. 

 

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I believe there was an HTB plant (somewhere in London) that used the organ regularly in Sunday services, as I know someone who depped there occasionally. He thought it was the only HTB church that did.

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Just looked at the photos of St. Mary's, Southampton on their Facebook page. Not my scene either in terms of church and music but each to their own.

TBH I wasn't too pleased when it was decided that my local church - St. Mary's, Stoke Bishop (Diocese of Bristol) - was to have the pews removed back in 2011 in favour of moveable chairs as well as other improvements (ie. heated flooring). Until, that was, I attended the wedding of a friend a couple of years ago which involved use of the church (service, wedding breakfast & evening cèilidh) and the adjoining church rooms (in-between those three parts). It is, in fact and despite my scepticism, a good and flexible setup which has changed my opinion somewhat.

As for services we here in Stoke Bishop have both types: 9am HC, followed by 10:30 All-Age service. The 9am is accompanied by the organ (IIIP/34: Hele of Plymouth 1909, reb. Daniel of Clevedon 1979) with the 10:30 done in a more modern way so all tastes are catered for. We have a new vicar coming later this year and I hope she will keep things as they are now as far as the church is concerned.

The church at Stoke Bishop is smaller than the one at Southampton but the modernisation at SB has, going by the photos I have seen, turned out better than Southampton's: I wonder if any of the congregation at St. Mary's Southampton decided to go elsewhere when the modernisation was done there: I certainly think that stage is in the wrong place.

Anyway sorry if I might have gone off-topic here.

Dave

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I used to practice at Stoke Bishop during my first year at Bristol University - I lived in Badock Hall along the road. A fine old Hele, I thought. I never got round to playing it after Daniel did it up .

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8 hours ago, DaveHarries said:

Just looked at the photos of St. Mary's, Southampton on their Facebook page. Not my scene either in terms of church and music but each to their own.

Dave:  I’m out of touch with the present St Mary’s.  This was/ is the Parish Church of Southampton.  Before WW II it had a Father Willis organ and was a handsome mediaeval church with a tall spire - which was a landmark for mariners, and had a peal of bells that inspired the song “The bells of St Mary’s”.  The liturgy was traditional C of E in the principal Civic church.  Heathcote Statham was organist here before moving to Norwich Cathedral and, somewhat later, Richard Marlow before Trinity College, Cambridge.  When I was last at St Mary’s it tended towards ‘High Church’ so these reports about recent developments have come as something of a surprise.  

There was a period when St Mary’s became stranded in a newer and largely non-Christian ethnic community, and the dwindling congregation was shipped in from outside its immediate area.  Apparently there has been a renaissance in a different tradition - not to our taste, possibly - but in itself a welcome fact for the church.

Like Bristol,  Southampton and neighbouring Portsmouth suffered devastating bombing in WW II, and the church was left a shell apart from the spire.  Most agree that the post-war re-build was, put politely, uninspired.  Henry Willis III provided the new organ when organbuilding was suffering from all kinds of difficulties and restraints, and was able to incorporate some Father Willis pipework from elsewhere (Stirling, Scotland, I think, although not certain).  Within those limitations he produced a fine eclectic instrument, but I gather it now needs a lot of money spent on it - a familiar scenario.

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According to NPOR (N18210) “the organ at St Mary’s Southampton (N11630) is said to ‘incorporate some Father Willis pipework from the former Albert Hall in Stirling’.” This is corroborated by the entry for Stirling Town Hall in Alan Buchan’s Organs in Scotland (2018).

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