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Mander Organs
Peter Allison

Hull City Hall

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I was having a look on the "Old Hull" Facebook page, and came across this photo. I am not sure if its been posted on this forum before, But knowing a few people know its history after this happened, I thought they might enlighten us again

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It shows how long it is since I posted anything related to  Compton, but the photograph in question was the result of a Luftwaffe bombing raid, when the roof of Hull City Hall was partially destroyed in 1941. The organ was largely spared direct damage, though the Forster & Andrews console got it to some extent.

The amazing thing is not so much what happened on one bombing raid, but what happened afterwards, because both the hall and the organ were left open to the elements FOR SEVEN YEARS!

Now I'm not sure whether anything was sheeted over (I suspect so) but it doesn't take much imagination to know what damp and an un-heated hall can do to an organ; not to mention pigeons, mice and other vermin.

A local organist thought he had heard the last concert in the hall, but wonderfully, the hall was repaired and the organ re-built by the Compton firm (with a lot of re-voicing) in the early 1950's. That was a further two years after the re-opening of the hall in 1948.  The end result was (and still is) quite spectacular!

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I am surprised to see that there is no information in any of the 3 NPOR Hull City Hall surveys about the impressive case on this organ. Can anyone contribute a suitable entry. This needs to be very concise as long entries are not used.

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A few years ago, my best friend who passed away a couple of days ago,  (David Rogers) made a visit, when I lived in Hull, and were given free reign, so used "both" keys to get the blowers working, (you were asked to use just the one key for practising apparently)  and David just improvise for a couple of hours, and took his recorder, and recorded everything. Its one of those days that I will remember for a long time

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4 hours ago, Jeff D said:

I am surprised to see that there is no information in any of the 3 NPOR Hull City Hall surveys about the impressive case on this organ. Can anyone contribute a suitable entry. This needs to be very concise as long entries are not used.

I’m not sure whether he writes on here, but the organ’s curator John Pemberton is certain to know the answer - or perhaps one of our Hull expert members can provide this information.  I have read that both the organ (in original form) and the case were designed by Philip H Selfe of Forster & Andrews, which would make the case an in-house design.  

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8 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I’m not sure whether he writes on here, but the organ’s curator John Pemberton is certain to know the answer - or perhaps one of our Hull expert members can provide this information.  I have read that both the organ (in original form) and the case were designed by Philip H Selfe of Forster & Andrews, which would make the case an in-house design.  

I'm no Hull expert although, I suppose, it is my home city.

I knew that the cases had been designed by Philip Selfe.  Jeff D is correct in that there is nothing on NPOR - but, like Roland, I read this somewhere - but, for the life of me, I cant remember where!!

 

edited to add: I've just found these: https://stopddiapason.co.uk/my-organ/organs-ive-played/ 

 http://www.amphion-recordings.com/phicd221.html

http://www.theorganmag.com/cdrevs/04/329rev7.html

……………………. all of which mention Philip Selfe

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As John Pemberton wrote the organ description in the programme note for Amphion, that information is definitive.  The case, of oak with gilt pipes, was an in-house design by Philip H Selfe, principal partner in Forster & Andrews, who designed the organ also.

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Thanks for the information on the case. I will update the NPOR survey/s.

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Just to add Compton ,when rebuilding the organ ,installed one of their luminous stop consoles, which was mobile and located on the stage usually with the player sitting with his back to the instrument.

Memory has the console being very compact with rounded ends.

Fernando Germani opened it April 1951 as guest of Norman Strafford - Organist, Holy Trinity,Hull

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3 hours ago, philipmgwright said:

Just to add Compton ,when rebuilding the organ ,installed one of their luminous stop consoles, which was mobile and located on the stage usually with the player sitting with his back to the instrument.

Memory has the console being very compact with rounded ends.

Fernando Germani opened it April 1951 as guest of Norman Strafford - Organist, Holy Trinity,Hull

Norman Strafford was also the City Organist, consultant for the rebuilt organ and shared the recital with Germani. I was there. I definitely don't recall the console having "rounded ends."

 

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On 14/04/2020 at 21:38, Barry Oakley said:

I definitely don't recall the console having "rounded ends."

 

I remember the old console quite well, I turned for both Roy and Peter, and I played it several times too - but I don't remember 'rounded ends' either! 

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Perhaps this image will help 

Hull City Hall

Just as I would expect it to be for the period.

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Very interesting!  Curved stop-jambs as in the former H&H console of Manchester Cathedral, and the RFH.  Didn’t Ralph Downes specify some modification of the Manchester design for the RFH?  I forget the details, and ‘Baroque Tricks’ is in store elsewhere and currently inaccessible.

I wonder what was said in the brass plate above the music desk - perhaps information about the original organ and the circumstances of its restoration?  More local knowledge needed!  Also note the discreet swell-pedal position indicators just below the equally discreet builder’s plate under the music desk.

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