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20 hours ago, OwenTurner said:

Yes great news indeed. Here’s hoping that a good number of the old firm’s workforce can find suitable roles here or elsewhere.

For me, if I ever find the spare cash, floor space and obtain spouse permission to commission a modest house organ, I am firmly committed to buy British and I’d urge others to seriously consider the same. Some continental builders are probably cheaper but, in my opinion, we need to support our own firms wherever we can.

Indeed and I would. Given the space I would indeed love to have a small box organ with an 8ft pedal but which could easily be transported in a van. Manders would certainly be in contention for such a contract. With me, however, space is one object and money is the other!

Dave

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I note that the front page of this forum has been updated with information about F H Browne's, and that registration on the forum has been re-enabled.  I guess this indicates that the forum is to continue under the new management.

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

It will be an interesting change and good luck to them.

Generally fellow Organists in East Kent are very surprised that FHB are so readily abandoning the well established and known Browne name for a company thats just gone bust.

The styles of the two firms, as I understand are also very different adding to the mystery. The real Mander were known for pretty high end tracker organs, doing big jobs internationally and were one of the big boys with their own pipe making and excellent tonal work whereas the new 'Mander' (FHB) seem to almost never make new organs and generally appear to do relatively small overhauls and no international work. Perhaps they think it will propel them into the premier league but all the organ advisors and anyone in the know will understand that its a totally different company just reusing the name.

 

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On 10/09/2020 at 23:15, East Kent Trombone said:

It will be an interesting change and good luck to them.

Generally fellow Organists in East Kent are very surprised that FHB are so readily abandoning the well established and known Browne name for a company thats just gone bust.

The styles of the two firms, as I understand are also very different adding to the mystery. The real Mander were known for pretty high end tracker organs, doing big jobs internationally and were one of the big boys with their own pipe making and excellent tonal work whereas the new 'Mander' (FHB) seem to almost never make new organs and generally appear to do relatively small overhauls and no international work. Perhaps they think it will propel them into the premier league but all the organ advisors and anyone in the know will understand that its a totally different company just reusing the name.

 

I think your comments are somewhat discourteous to our new hosts.  Perhaps you should wait and see how the company develops in the coming months.

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I don't think it's discourteous at all. I'm pleased for FHB but don't think it's unreasonable to note that a small regional organ builder is not necessarily the real original Mander with their specialities, equipment, noted pipework makers and voicers simply by the virtue recycling the trading name.

I hope they go well but the change of name has not gone down that well with many of their existing customers who have stuck with their 'local' long established firm for years. The name Mander doesn't have the reverance or the reputation down in Kent and Sussex that it has elsewhere because it's not well known in the area. 

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Unless organists, musicians, clergy et al. in Kent and Sussex don’t have access to the internet or recordings of the instruments that Mander built/restored, it seems a little disingenuous to suggest that Mander is an unknown firm in those areas.  
 

As I understand it, a significant proportion of the FHB workforce is Mander-trained; they will know the expectations placed upon them by taking on the Mander name.  As with any business, the quality of their work will be the measure of their success.  Should the work of the ‘new firm’ be of the same high quality of the ‘old firm’, albeit possibly on a smaller scale, then the business will hopefully thrive, and I’m not sure the name will (or should) make much difference.

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I may have missed something, but is there any news about the original premises in Bethnal Green and the extensive equipment (including casting table)?  Will any of that be available to the new company? 

Kent and Sussex organists will be familiar with the Mander name: Canterbury and Chichester Cathedrals, the latter especially successful both visually and for the organ’s sympathetic restoration and enlargement.  As to clergy, my (admittedly pretty limited) experience is that few know anything much about organbuilders except, perhaps, the instrument in their own church - and some of them not even that!

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Point taken about Chichester and Rochester. The 1978 Mander Organ at Canterbury was not seen in a good light so not so well regarded in that sense. I understand it was a victim of the fashions at the time where most of the Father Willis work was scrapped.

Someone I know who worked for old Manders said that the majority of the equipment was sold at Auction and the largest amount was collected by Harrisons who have taken it to Durham. They've just put a brand new organ in Canterbury Cathedral which I hear is superb. I understand other Organ Builders bought a much smaller proportion of some stock too - no idea if any went to FHB they've only announced they've bought the trading name and websites etc.

St. Peters Organ Works in Bethnal Green is owned by NP Mander Properties according to companies house. They also used to own Mander Organs Ltd before 2018 when it went to an employee ownership trust.

I assume the works will therefore revert to John Mander on the termination of the lease by the bankrupt firm and their liquidators. 

 

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9 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I may have missed something, but is there any news about the original premises in Bethnal Green and the extensive equipment (including casting table)?  Will any of that be available to the new company? 

Kent and Sussex organists will be familiar with the Mander name: Canterbury and Chichester Cathedrals, the latter especially successful both visually and for the organ’s sympathetic restoration and enlargement.  As to clergy, my (admittedly pretty limited) experience is that few know anything much about organbuilders except, perhaps, the instrument in their own church - and some of them not even that!

 

Sadly, if your experience had been any wider, your conclusion would have remained substantially the same.

I'm old enough to remember when the incumbent was an MA Oxbridge, could quote Euripides in the original and was thoroughly expert in the technicalities of Walschaert's valve gear. He bicycled in a fawn jacket to watch the village cricket and knew everyone. Usually the organ was a modest affair, recently affixed with a plaque from BOB but was valued for what is was and not regarded as an outmoded and unwanted financial expense. Regrettably, the tower bells often are viewed in the same light  I profoundly regret the passing of the vicar of my boyhood and have scant regard for the bulk of that which has replaced him.  I accept that the upkeep of a pipe organ can be a substantial burden for many parishes but while it may be heresy to say so on this forum, electronic substitutes with their minimal running costs, for most people can be indistinguishable from the real thing - the Allen in the Silverstone parish church is an excellent example of such with an intelligently drawn specification. But I fear any appreciation of these things is not encouraged in today's preparation for the Ministry. 

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4 minutes ago, Cornet IV said:

 

Sadly, if your experience had been any wider, your conclusion would have remained substantially the same.

I'm old enough to remember when the incumbent was an MA Oxbridge, could quote Euripides in the original and was thoroughly expert in the technicalities of Walschaert's valve gear. He bicycled in a fawn jacket to watch the village cricket and knew everyone. Usually the organ was a modest affair, recently affixed with a plaque from BOB but was valued for what is was and not regarded as an outmoded and unwanted financial expense. Regrettably, the tower bells often are viewed in the same light  I profoundly regret the passing of the vicar of my boyhood and have scant regard for the bulk of that which has replaced him.  I accept that the upkeep of a pipe organ can be a substantial burden for many parishes but while it may be heresy to say so on this forum, electronic substitutes with their minimal running costs, for most people can be indistinguishable from the real thing - the Allen in the Silverstone parish church is an excellent example of such with an intelligently drawn specification. But I fear any appreciation of these things is not encouraged in today's preparation for the Ministry. 

Oops, I must read more carefully.  When I first looked at your post and saw the reference to Walschaert's valve gear, I took it that the organ had a plaque from the Berner Oberland Bahn!  

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Perhaps it's a little cheeky to use this forum to critique our host at a delicate time. We are not owed any explanation, though of course we will be interested to see what direction is taken.

It's pretty common in the commercial world to take over a well known name as part of an attempt to enter a new or expanded market. There's no reason organ building should be exempt from this.

From what has been said, it is not only the name that has been acquired but the IP rights as well. Presumably that includes drawings and design specs from previous work. If certain key employees are also in common, it's not impossible that the new owners could to an extent pick up where the old left off. Perhaps that's the plan. We will have to wait and see!

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22 hours ago, john carter said:

Oops, I must read more carefully.  When I first looked at your post and saw the reference to Walschaert's valve gear, I took it that the organ had a plaque from the Berner Oberland Bahn!  

Perhaps it's as well that I did not compound the confusion by adding that my fondly-remembered cleric took his holidays walking in the Lütschinen valleys! 

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43 minutes ago, Cornet IV said:

Perhaps it's as well that I did not compound the confusion by adding that my fondly-remembered cleric took his holidays walking in the Lütschinen valleys! 

In general, and not pointing in any particular direction, I am a little concerned at the tone of one or two comments recently.

Some questions are best left unanswered, and some unasked.

Please be mindful to show a tad more tact, diplomacy  and optimism towards both our new hosts and our previous one. It must be a tricky situation all round, and assumptions should not be made.

 

An aside, re the Walschaerts valve-gear, when my ex and I lived in the Swiss Federation, four years were in the village of Blonay (a home to Paul Hindemith, who I am reliably informed had a magnificent train set in his attic; we also were on the cooking rota for train crews at the Blonay - Chamby Musee de Chemin de Fer).

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It must be said that Messrs F. H. Browne must be extremely brave people to extend out into territories virtually (but not entirely) unknown to them. This especially not just in a bankrupt country as the the UK, but world in general, with churches in massive decline at present. The UK being their main market at present too.

We can only wish them luck, and of course pick up a contract or two through maintaining this forum for us. Lets be honest the forum would have been set up initially with a view to advertising a product as well as giving ourselves a wonderful platform for discussion and information about a subject we all love. This is what Invision Community, former IPB, is (not totally) all about.

Despite all, the Mander Forum has brought all of us much pleasure over many years and long may it continue under the new hosts, regardless of any commercial gain through it also.

Again, thanks to John Mander and F. H. Browne because here we still are.

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To Cornet IV and Nic Davidson-Porter:  Even though we have strayed off-topic, it is pleasant to have a little humour occasionally.  I am glad that you appear to like the Swiss Federation as much as I do.  I only wish I could have been there for my annual visit to the Lucerne Festival, sadly not possible in the current situation.

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