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Warrington Parr Hall 1895 organ


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Mention was made in another forum of the 1895 organ as “of little consequence”  Reports in the Examiner Newspaper 21 Sep 1895 would beg to differ. Gray&Davison built a three Manual 29 stops incorporating their 1865/72 work in the newly opened Parr Hall 1895. This instrument incoporated pipework from Samuel Renn ,Organ Builder,Manchester who built a two manual  10 stops organ in 1835 for the Warrington Musical Society for sum of £185 in the Old Music Hall.  Renn moved it to the old Town Hall in 1840 for £14 8/-. The Musical Society later asked Gray &Davison to relocate the organ  to the Public Hall and to add a Choir organ and the new enlarged organ was opened by W.T. Best in 1865. This hall was sold in 1892 and the organ stored until the Parr Hall was opened - Gray&Davison rebuilt and enlarged it for £350. 

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The following article appeared in The Choir publication, 1926.
'In the Parr Hall, the largest concert hall in the town, there stands today a derelict organ. It has three manuals covered in dust and shorn of ivory.
It is entirely unplayable and looks a miserable object on near view, although the case and the pipes impress the stranger in the body of the hall.
It has a history that probably cannot be paralleled in any other town and it is (fortunately) a silent verification of suspended Warrington enterprise.
This 'Ichabod' organ was purchased for £155 upon the inauguration of the Musical Society in 1834. It was built by Samuel Renn, of Manchester, and had six stops on the Great and four on the Swell.
In 1840, it was removed to the Town Hall. In 1862 it was resolved 'That Messrs. Gray and Davison be requested to value the organ with a view to it being sold as soon as possible.' But nothing was done in the matter, and two years later, when a Public Hall was erected, the organ was enlarged at cost of £500 through the generosity of Mr Joseph Litton, and it was opened by Mr. W T Best in 1865.
In 1891, a scheme was brought forward to turn the hall into a theatre, and this necessitated the removal of the organ.
No purchaser could be found, and the organ was therefore taken down and stored for three years.
In 1895, a new Public Hall was presented to the town of Warrington by Mr Joseph Charlton Parr, who also lent money for the enlargement of the organ in the Hall, where it languishes today, its soul of music shed.
After lengthy negotiations, the organ was transferred to the Warrington Council, which (though a valuable asset) had been something of a white elephant.'
The Parr Hall was presented to the Borough of Warrington by J. Chorlton Parr on the 26th September 1895. Members of the Warrington Musical Society performed Handel's Grand Oratorio 'Judas Maccabeus' at the afternoon opening.
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The Liverpool Daily Post - Thursday 19th March, 1914.


Warrington is in need of a first class organ to replace the existing one in the Parr Hall.
When this hall was presented to the town by Mr J Charlton Parr, the local musical society transferred the organ in their possession to the Parr Hall.
It was then much the worse for wear, and latterly, it has been in such a condition that it has been almost impossible to use it.
The Corporation accepted a tender for a first-class instrument, to cost £1,600, but the Local Government Board refused to allow them to borrow the money, and left them with the alternative of taking the cost out of the current year's rates.
This idea was brought before the General Purposes Committee and defeated, and the Mayor (Councillor Peacock) approached some of the wealthiest citizens with the view of raising the money by private subscription.
The response was rather disappointing, but this week a start has been made with a subscription of £100 from Mrs Parker, of Penketh, and hopes are entertained that this will give a fillip to the movement which the Mayor has initiated.

The Widnes Examiner newspaper - Saturday 8th May, 1920.


It is certainly a reflection of the worst kind upon Warrington that the Parr Hall contains an organ that cannot be played.

The instrument is so far gone that it is unequal to the task of providing the blatant kind of noise that would pass for music at a political demonstration.

Many attempts have been made to arouse interest in the question of the provision of an organ that would be at the service of the Musical Society and other bodies who wish to cultivate their special gifts and to provide entertainment for what we are pleased to believe is a musical public.

We have a splendid public hall that is miserably equipped - an illustration on a lamentable scale of the folly of spoiling the ship for the want of a pennyworth of tar.

There have been a good many local war memorials. What of a musical war memorial in the shape of a new organ for the Parr Hall.

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