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Thomas Coats Memorial Church, Paisley


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Whilst social distancing at home I've been watching the latest series of "Outlander" which includes scenes in what looked like a large, and rather fine, American church with a large organ split across matching cases on either side of the quire. With a little bit of research it transpires that these scenes were filmed in Thomas Coats Memorial (Baptist) Church in Paisley, Scotland and the organ is a largely unspoilt 1890 4-manual Hill.https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N12481

The church has recently ceased to be used as a place of public worship and is now a for hire venue for weddings, concerts etc.. I wonder if anyone knows what state the organ is currently in and what plans there may be for its future?

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On 19/03/2020 at 14:19, sotto said:

Whilst social distancing at home I've been watching the latest series of "Outlander" which includes scenes in what looked like a large, and rather fine, American church with a large organ split across matching cases on either side of the quire. With a little bit of research it transpires that these scenes were filmed in Thomas Coats Memorial (Baptist) Church in Paisley, Scotland...[snip]

Which episode?  I played the organ decades ago, and remember the Saxhorn stop on the Solo. It's a shame there aren't more examples of it.

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On 20/03/2020 at 19:56, wolsey said:

Which episode?  I played the organ decades ago, and remember the Saxhorn stop on the Solo. It's a shame there aren't more examples of it.

Sounds interesting: I have never heard a Saxhorn.

Dave

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In terms of an organ stop I cannot find any reference to a Saxhorn, even in the Encyclopaedia of Organ Stops. But apparently its modern-day equivalent is the Tenor Horn, a core instrument found in brass bands. I'm not surprised that it sits well on a Solo division.

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2009 newspaper article "A FUNDRAISING drive to pay for the restoration of one of the finest pipe organs in the UK will be launched tomorrow." https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/funds-drive-restore-unique-coats-2611428

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxhorn for more on Saxhorn. Note the conical bore which would put it into the mellower brass instruments, the brighter ones having cylindrical bores (compare a cornet (single rank, not a quintet of parallel players [joke]) with a trumpet).

There must be someone in this forum who has played it?

I've also stumbled on this: "Con Spirito! CD £11.00 Recorded in Autumn 2015, Matt Edwards plays the historic four manual Hill pipe organ of Thomas Coats Memorial" here: http://www.mattedwards.org.uk/, so it must have been in decent playing condition very recently.
 

 

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Sometimes instruments are recorded, to keep a record, when in poor condition.  A former board member's recording of the Willis in Reading Minster (known to me in my childhood, when I was in the choir there, as "St Mary's, Butts"*) comes to mind.  It's good to have a reminder of the first organ I started to learn on.

Paul

* Nothing rude - the street it's on was called The Butts**.  Also it was necessary to distinguish it from St Mary's, Castle Street, barely 200 yards away.

** Google Maps tells me that the street has been renamed "St Mary's Butts".

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The organ at Coats Memorial remains in situ. When I left four years ago it remained fully playable with some ongoing regular faults. One of the two main reservoirs was releathered in my time there. The HNB electrics were beginning to fail, mainly evident in the piston system. Some sticky motors as well. The organ suffered from a cold church mid week then 23 degrees on a Sunday, very over heated. I recorded only the second CD in it's history as I left, as previously mentioned.

The organ now. Well, the piston system has failed completely. The Gt 16' reed slider has warped as someone untrained went into the organ and used it as a hand hold. That stop is off. It was otherwise 99% playable. It is in major need of a rebuild and new electrics, very doubtful that this will ever happen under new management. There was an offer to buy the organ but this was declined.

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