Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Manchester Town Hall - Work In Progress

Choir Man

Recommended Posts

This information was put out by Nicholson some time ago.   Very good historical account and details of the work involved. Still wonder with aghast at the astronomical amount of cash being thrown around on this old building in the present economic climate; but as the narrative will probably go, " it has been ringfenced ".

Laughed when I read that the console had to be " anglicized "  in order to enable the English to be able to play it!!

Fortunate indeed for this piece of historical machinery to have survived at all.   One still wonders at the forthcoming fate of the CC just down the road.   Best one can hope for is that it will be digitalized for posterity before it meets its ultimate, unfortunate fate.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


9 hours ago, Adnosad said:

'One still wonders at the forthcoming fate of the CC just down the road.   Best one can hope for is that it will be digitalized for posterity before it meets its ultimate, unfortunate fate.'

Following the announcement by Sheffield Cathedral in September, 2011 that they were no longer interested in acquiring the 1870 Cavaillé-Coll organ in the Parr Hall, Warrington, Dr Gerald Sumner said this ............

'Although the organ is obviously important as the only recognisable survivor of the nine C-C organs built in this country I believe strongly that the organ has a special significance in the entire corpus of the Cavaillé-Coll organs, something that might well be especially important if the disposal of the organ by the Warrington authorities becomes a real threat to its survival. There is no doubt in my mind that this could and should become a major heritage issue in the widest sense.'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Manchester City Council - Heritage and art.

< The Organ
At the heart of Manchester’s Town Hall, centre-stage in the Great Hall, is the organ. Built in 1877 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll of Paris (arguably the best organ builder in the world at the time) at a cost of £2,700 (approx £2.5m today), Cavaillé-Coll later returned to make a few additions to the original scheme, which resulted in his final design of 1893.
In the years since, however, it has been subject to a number of modifications, and a condition survey, carried out in October 2015, showed that the instrument is in dire need of major restoration and reconstruction. As an important part of the Our Town Hall project, this work will see the organ largely restored as Cavaillé-Coll originally intended, after the wholesale removal of the entire organ, pipe by pipe.
Thankfully, that condition report also showed that the instrument still has a distinctive voice: although changes have taken place, Cavaillé-Coll's tonal palette is unmistakable, and it is possible to recover this. Virtually all of the original pipework survives, with comparatively little alteration, and by applying modern conservation techniques and a knowledge of Cavaillé-Coll’s practices, the original sound can be restored.
The work will be undertaken jointly, by Nicholson & Co of Malvern, and Flentrop Orgelbouw, of the Netherlands.
“As two leading organ building firms, we have decided to make a joint offer as a collaboration on this exciting and significant project. We feel that pooling our respective skills, experience, resources and locations makes our joint offering markedly stronger than what either of us could offer independently.
The organ will be returned in almost every way to its 1893 condition, including the return of the original pitch, the manufacture of new actions (with three new Barker Lever machines), new console, chests, and much of the wind system, all in a strict replica of the Cavaillé-Coll style. The casework will be returned to its original 1877 appearance."

The organ will be wholly dismantled in the late spring of 2020, and returned to the building for completion by the end of 2023, to coincide in 2024 with the re-opening of this much-loved building. >
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of the nine organs that were built in this United Kingdom by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, those that remain have been altered more than others. Two of those that remain were NOT built for a Church, being the 1877 C-C in Manchester Town Hall and the 1870 C-C in Warrington's Parr Hall.
It is possible that we are the envy of the French, some of whose native Cavaillé-Coll organs having been greatly modified. The same fate has befallen the once authentic C-C installations at Paisley Abbey, and what is now Blackburn Cathedral.
What is remarkable, is that it was the Sheffield Albert Hall concert organ that WAS the envy of the French, at a time when they had no A C-C concert organ of their own, that is, until the Trocadéro organ. The Sheffield orgue was lost in a fire in 1937, and the Trocadéro orgue was as good as lost, when it was moved to the Palais de Chaillot, and then to the Maurice Ravel auditorium, Lyon.
To the best of my knowledge, the organ of the Philharmonie, Haarlem, The Netherlands, and that of the Parr Hall, Warrington, are the only two remaining Concert organs built by A C-C, in near original condition, anywhere in the World.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...