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I have discovered another quite large source of Compton material, I'm happy to report.

 

This is looking much easier than I could have imagined.

 

MM

 

 

I should have mentioned before that there is a very comprehensive run-down of the Compton company in Laurance Elvin's book 'Pipes & Actions'.

 

Also of interest is an audio transcription I have of an interview which the late Clifford Manning conducted for research purposes, I think in the 1980s, with Roy Skinner who was a mainstay of Compton's electrical department from the late 20s. Thinking back on it, I have a feeling that he was married to Jimmy Taylor's sister. Also still believed to be in the land of the living is Susie Perkins - the adopted daughter of John Compton - who was last known to be in the Somerset area. However, despite appeals in the local press, I was unable to trace her to invite her to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations at the Odeon, Weston-super-Mare.

 

Ivor also told me that he'd been in touch with Jimmy Taylor's son, but hadn't broadcast the fact as he didn't want all and sundry bothering him. I have yet to find the correspondance among Ivor's papers.

 

S

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The factory also made, so far as I know, every single component which went into an organ, with the exception of blowers. That makes Compton almost unique in the modern age. (MM)

 

Not entirely true. I used to have a tenor/retired organist in my church choir who worked, as a young man, for a joinery firm in Acton, R J Cattle. He told me that Cattle's made many of the console carcasses for Compton. I did a bit of research and found that the firm did indeed exist and in very close proximity to Compton's works, information which I passed on to Ivor Buckingham.

 

 

Does anyone know if the loss of the Selby Abbey Compton organ in the fire of 1906 was attributed to the organ itself or purely coincidental ? The organ was only installed for 22 days.

 

H

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The factory also made, so far as I know, every single component which went into an organ, with the exception of blowers. That makes Compton almost unique in the modern age. (MM)

 

Not entirely true. I used to have a tenor/retired organist in my church choir who worked, as a young man, for a joinery firm in Acton, R J Cattle. He told me that Cattle's made many of the console carcasses for Compton. I did a bit of research and found that the firm did indeed exist and in very close proximity to Compton's works, information which I passed on to Ivor Buckingham.

 

Yes, they did a lot of the 'specials' - particularly the larger ones like the two at Southampton Guildhall and, I believe, the original BBC theatre organ which had beautiful quarter-sawn panelling on the sides. The console workshop at Chase Road did build the vast majority though, as most Compton consoles were made in one of their house-styles. I think the specials cost a lot more.

 

The one other fundamental component which Compton's DIDN'T make themselves were keyboards, which were bought in and fitted into Compton-built frames.

 

S

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I've just read through this thread quickly, so apologies if I'm repeating something which has already been mentioned. Compton's rebuilt an organ originally by Lincoln (1811) in St Pancras Church in West Bagborough, Somerset. The organ boasts a magnificent case on the west gallery and is completely enclosed. Compton added a second division, making the organ into a 2 manual, leaving the original Lincoln as an Echo division. The tracker action is light and a pleasure to play - albeit without much depth of touch. The whole is a simply beautiful instrument.

 

I believe that the organ in All Saint's, Weston-super-Mare is also a Compton, and very similar to Downside. The DOM is Christopher Manners, formerly MD of Percy Daniel & Co. Re Downside, I remember Roger Taylor (he was formerly R&D but not Compton as far as I know) telling me many years ago of the problems he had sourcing replacement bulbs for the illuminated stop knobs.

 

Hope this helps.

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The one other fundamental component which Compton's DIDN'T make themselves were keyboards, which were bought in and fitted into Compton-built frames.

 

S

 

=========================

 

I suspect this to be true of ALL organ-builders at the time. I know that Herberger Brookes (Sp?) were often mentioned as a source of keyboards, but I have no idea if they supplied Compton.

 

MM

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I've just read through this thread quickly, so apologies if I'm repeating something which has already been mentioned. Compton's rebuilt an organ originally by Lincoln (1811) in St Pancras Church in West Bagborough, Somerset. The organ boasts a magnificent case on the west gallery and is completely enclosed. Compton added a second division, making the organ into a 2 manual, leaving the original Lincoln as an Echo division. The tracker action is light and a pleasure to play - albeit without much depth of touch. The whole is a simply beautiful instrument.

 

What a clever scheme! One is reminded of Harrisons' enlargement of the Sutton organ at Jesus College, Cambridge. Interesting to see Compton building a tracker action - or so I infer - did they do it anywhere else?

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What a clever scheme! One is reminded of Harrisons' enlargement of the Sutton organ at Jesus College, Cambridge. Interesting to see Compton building a tracker action - or so I infer - did they do it anywhere else?

 

'Must get over and see this one - 'never knew it was there!

 

A

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Interesting to see Compton building a tracker action?

 

Not tracker but very un Compton is this - there has been some work since it went in (Walkers I think) and the Swell/Great reeds are now slightly different having been somewhat tamed. I've not heard it for 30+ years but I think another poster on here plays there sometimes. I once met the chap who drew up the scheme ('can't remember his name but he was organist there when it went in) - he was interviewing me for a teaching course at a college in York in the mid '70s - we spent more time on the Boltons organ than on my possible college place.

 

A

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Not tracker but very un Compton is this - there has been some work since it went in (Walkers I think) and the Swell/Great reeds are now slightly different having been somewhat tamed. I've not heard it for 30+ years but I think another poster on here plays there sometimes. I once met the chap who drew up the scheme ('can't remember his name but he was organist there when it went in) - he was interviewing me for a teaching course at a college in York in the mid '70s - we spent more time on the Boltons organ than on my possible college place.

 

A

The person you are referring to is David Lang, now retired & living in York. I had the pleasure of being his assistant at the Boltons in the mid-60's. I remember the organ as being most un-Compton like, very in-your-face & taking no prisoners! Just what a young music student used to playing a large Willis III in a very resonant building needed! I believe David was at that time a lecturer at Roehampton Teacher Training College & also a part-time teacher at the RCO. He was also a fine organist.

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The person you are referring to is David Lang.......He was also a fine organist.

 

That's him - thanks - and apparently enlightened as to what he wanted for a new instrument. I didn't end up going to the college in York (they had an Allen there then if I remember correctly) but went Southampton with a new Peter Collins instead - the merits etc. of which of been discussed on here before. Happily also - during my post grad. teacher training year in Winchester I had as my tutor another enlightened 'organ type' of rather a different way of thinking. Our tutorials were often quite off the topic of educational theory but I did manage to pass the course all the same!

 

A

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=========================

 

I suspect this to be true of ALL organ-builders at the time. I know that Herberger Brookes (Sp?) were often mentioned as a source of keyboards, but I have no idea if they supplied Compton.

 

MM

 

Dear MM; I can't believe that no mention has been made in this discussion of Patents!

 

The back catalogue of GB patent specifications at least back to the 1910s can be searched online. This is a search for the applicant 'compton organs' for example; it yields some interesting stuff. To can also specify by inventor, date, patent classifier, etc...

 

http://v3.espacenet.com/searchResults?book...amp;EC=&IC=

 

Because of the requirements for sufficiency in composing a patent specification, these documents might represent the best disclosures of how John Compton's technology worked now that most of the employees are gone...

 

Regards etc.

 

Method of getting two tones from one organ pipe (1932):

http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDetails...mp;locale=en_gb

 

The polyphone bass patent (1925)?

http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDetails...mp;locale=en_gb

 

Improvements to stop mechanism

http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDetails...mp;locale=en_gb

 

It goes on and on....!

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Dear MM;

 

I can't believe that no mention has been made in this discussion of Patents!

 

=====================

 

 

I have blind spots!

 

I didn't even know it was possible to bring up patents on-line.

 

My first reaction to scannng through the 40+ Compton patents, is one of astonishment and bemusement.

 

I recall buying a record-deck in the late 70's, then touted as the latest thing,with stroboscopic speed control. It was a Japanese deck (Sansui) of good quality, but I then find a Compton Patent dating back to the 1930's!!!

 

The patents confirm what I already suspected, that the people around John Compton were highly experimental and definitely "top drawer" thinkers and innovators, which is why the subject of Compton is such a complex one. What we do not see, and presumably cannot see, are any inventions or experimental papers relating to the war-effort, which I should imagine are with the MOD.

 

It further highlights the difficult of compiling some sort of book, because it would have to be so multi-faceted; engineering, production methods, design, innovation. electromagnetic devices, acoustic principles, wind generated and electronically generated musical synthesis.....the list goes on and on.

 

I cannot think of another single company, anywhere in the world of organ-building, which presents such a challenge.

 

MM

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Having re-read much that has been written here and elsewhere about John Compton (including Ian Bell's writings) I wonder: there seems to be broad agreement that a book is needed but do we have to give up on the idea because we are all too busy? I mentioned earlier that I am an experienced editor and writer (mostly in the medicolegal field) as well as being an organist with a lot of interest in the Compton story and contacts with the JC factory in its sad latter days, BUT I simply lack the technical knowledge to tackle this topic alone.

Is it not possible that a group of us could work together to produce a decent book? I myself live in Norway but I could envisage having a small group meeting of potential contributors sometime this summer in Britain. I have to be in Cambridge on July 2nd, but Birmingham might be more convenient for a get-together. I am not in the least ambitious to take the lead but I hope we could identify a lead author, and I would gladly assist with spadework and editing. Might BIOS be interested in joining in?

 

Graham Dukes

Oslo

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Having re-read much that has been written here and elsewhere about John Compton (including Ian Bell's writings) I wonder: there seems to be broad agreement that a book is needed but do we have to give up on the idea because we are all too busy? I mentioned earlier that I am an experienced editor and writer (mostly in the medicolegal field) as well as being an organist with a lot of interest in the Compton story and contacts with the JC factory in its sad latter days, BUT I simply lack the technical knowledge to tackle this topic alone.

Is it not possible that a group of us could work together to produce a decent book? I myself live in Norway but I could envisage having a small group meeting of potential contributors sometime this summer in Britain. I have to be in Cambridge on July 2nd, but Birmingham might be more convenient for a get-together. I am not in the least ambitious to take the lead but I hope we could identify a lead author, and I would gladly assist with spadework and editing. Might BIOS be interested in joining in?

 

Graham Dukes

Oslo

 

 

=====================

 

 

You've identified the problem Graham, because I can't think of anyone who could claim to cover all the various disciplines and therefore act as a lead author. It would be like writing about Volvo....cars, trucks, buses, earth-moving equipment, marine, jet engines, agriculture, chemical industries etc etc etc.

 

No "Compton Story" could never be complete without reference to so many things, including air-defence RADAR during WWII.

 

However, there already exists "The Compton List," which could be expanded to include just such a venture, because a pdf file as a download, would take up very little bandwith and may even bring money in to support the site. Electronic publishing is probably the only sound economic way to go about this, because the generation which might have been very interest, has now almost totally passed. We must also be aware of the significance of the dual-purpose concert organs and the theatre organs, which were a considerable source of income; not just to Compton, but to other organ-builders at work in the lean years of the depression, who acted as sub-contractors.

 

I'm very much "in on this"....but it's getting the right people together to create something coherent, accurate and above all, musically stimulating.

 

MM

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Thanks for your quick and encouraging response MM. I also had a positive letter from Ian Bell, whom I contacted directly, and who is one of the few people to have written a short biography of John Compton (for BIOS). He is as fully occupied as we all are, but wants to keep in touch with the venture. Let's wait a few more days and see if more people turn up. I agree that electronic publishing might be the best approach, and one might also think of working with BIOS who could be interested in making this the subject of one of their meetings, with various speakers dealing with the different aspects of the subject. I also wonder what happened to the Compton archives; some may have gone to Rushworth, (so what happened to their material?), some to Compton-Makin. Alan Lord's son may have some clues. One could indeed well rope in the Compton List. Michael Foley was with Comptons during their final years, but I have lost touch with him. Let's see where we are in a week's time.

Sincerely,

Graham Dukes

 

 

=====================

 

 

You've identified the problem Graham, because I can't think of anyone who could claim to cover all the various disciplines and therefore act as a lead author. It would be like writing about Volvo....cars, trucks, buses, earth-moving equipment, marine, jet engines, agriculture, chemical industries etc etc etc.

 

No "Compton Story" could never be complete without reference to so many things, including air-defence RADAR during WWII.

 

However, there already exists "The Compton List," which could be expanded to include just such a venture, because a pdf file as a download, would take up very little bandwith and may even bring money in to support the site. Electronic publishing is probably the only sound economic way to go about this, because the generation which might have been very interest, has now almost totally passed. We must also be aware of the significance of the dual-purpose concert organs and the theatre organs, which were a considerable source of income; not just to Compton, but to other organ-builders at work in the lean years of the depression, who acted as sub-contractors.

 

I'm very much "in on this"....but it's getting the right people together to create something coherent, accurate and above all, musically stimulating.

 

MM

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Thanks for your quick and encouraging response MM. I also had a positive letter from Ian Bell, whom I contacted directly, and who is one of the few people to have written a short biography of John Compton (for BIOS). He is as fully occupied as we all are, but wants to keep in touch with the venture. Let's wait a few more days and see if more people turn up. I agree that electronic publishing might be the best approach, and one might also think of working with BIOS who could be interested in making this the subject of one of their meetings, with various speakers dealing with the different aspects of the subject. I also wonder what happened to the Compton archives; some may have gone to Rushworth, (so what happened to their material?), some to Compton-Makin. Alan Lord's son may have some clues. One could indeed well rope in the Compton List. Michael Foley was with Comptons during their final years, but I have lost touch with him. Let's see where we are in a week's time.

Sincerely,

Graham Dukes

 

 

========================

 

 

I guess that Graham is not aware of the fact that mnost of the Compton company files perished in a fire at the factory.

 

What remained, so far as I know, was rescued from R & D when the company ceased trading, and is with the BIOS to the best of my knowedge.

 

However, it's all the undocumented areas where the greatest interest lies, I suspect; not least the technological and academic background, as well the people with whom John Compton surrounded himself. It's almost a testament to a particular age, (as was the building of Concorde without computers)....a very, very clever generation of multi-talented, multi-skilled people who were in the front line of technological progress.

 

I await developments with interest.

 

MM

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Thanks for your quick and encouraging response MM. I also had a positive letter from Ian Bell, whom I contacted directly, and who is one of the few people to have written a short biography of John Compton (for BIOS). He is as fully occupied as we all are, but wants to keep in touch with the venture. Let's wait a few more days and see if more people turn up. I agree that electronic publishing might be the best approach, and one might also think of working with BIOS who could be interested in making this the subject of one of their meetings, with various speakers dealing with the different aspects of the subject. I also wonder what happened to the Compton archives; some may have gone to Rushworth, (so what happened to their material?), some to Compton-Makin. Alan Lord's son may have some clues. One could indeed well rope in the Compton List. Michael Foley was with Comptons during their final years, but I have lost touch with him. Let's see where we are in a week's time.

Sincerely,

Graham Dukes

 

===================================

 

 

Since April, this subject seems to have died a death, which is a pity.

 

I have an absolute mass of information concerning John Compton and those around him, which has continued to grow and grow, with some astonishing revelations and unexpected links.

 

I've even started to get my head around some of the electronic and electrical aspects of Compton's work; especially the latter.

 

Of course, any Compton story would be incomplete without reference to Robert Hope-Jones, and even there, I stumble across some fascinating material.

 

Some may despise his tonal ideas, but a paper written by Don Hyde of the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust sheds some interesting light on the quality of Hope-Jones actions. It seems that a certain Mr Royce wound the solenoid magnets for him in Manchester, and the same gentleman teamed up with a certain Mr Rolls in due course. That further hints at a link between Joules and Hope-Jones, and possibly with his organ fanatic brother in Manchester.

 

However, perhaps the most extraordinary discovery was finding that Compton had been associated with organs in cinemas LONG before the advent of the cinema organ proper........but this must remain on the back burner until I have verified it.

 

Another fascinating link was his association with Lloyd of Nottingham, who had really gone down the Hope-Jones/Orchestral path. What an abrupt change of style Compton must have met with when compared with the German-style of Brindley & Foster, in Sheffield.

 

Quite a lot of what Compton did, how he thought and how he excelled in a particular way, are beginning to fall into place, and it is infinitely fascinating. More importantly, it is becoming more factual than speculative.

 

MM

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========================

 

 

I guess that Graham is not aware of the fact that mnost of the Compton company files perished in a fire at the factory.

 

What remained, so far as I know, was rescued from R & D when the company ceased trading, and is with the BIOS to the best of my knowedge.

 

However, it's all the undocumented areas where the greatest interest lies, I suspect; not least the technological and academic background, as well the people with whom John Compton surrounded himself. It's almost a testament to a particular age, (as was the building of Concorde without computers)....a very, very clever generation of multi-talented, multi-skilled people who were in the front line of technological progress.

 

I await developments with interest.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

There's no listing of Compton material at the British Organ Archive - although there may be some stuff that hasn't yet reached the on-line index.

 

Much of R&D's archive was destroyed by them immediately before Willis took possession of the factory in Liverpool (which was supposed to have been sold complete with contents from what I heard). What remains of those archives is still with the Willis company.

 

The lack of archival material is one thing that will make writing the full Compton story somewhat difficult!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

There's no listing of Compton material at the British Organ Archive - although there may be some stuff that hasn't yet reached the on-line index.

 

Much of R&D's archive was destroyed by them immediately before Willis took possession of the factory in Liverpool (which was supposed to have been sold complete with contents from what I heard). What remains of those archives is still with the Willis company.

 

The lack of archival material is one thing that will make writing the full Compton story somewhat difficult!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Some years ago I enquired of Alistair Rushworth if R&D had any historical Compton documents. His answer was in the negative although he suggested I made contact with some of the ex Compton people (a very few) who were working for him out in the field. It led nowherevoicer and of those I managed to speak with their comments were more of an anecdotal nature. The most interesting person I was finally able to speak with was the wife of Frank Hancock, Compton's former head reed voicer.

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Hi

 

There's no listing of Compton material at the British Organ Archive - although there may be some stuff that hasn't yet reached the on-line index.

 

Much of R&D's archive was destroyed by them immediately before Willis took possession of the factory in Liverpool (which was supposed to have been sold complete with contents from what I heard). What remains of those archives is still with the Willis company.

 

The lack of archival material is one thing that will make writing the full Compton story somewhat difficult!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

==============================

 

 

I think you may be wrong, and I'll tell you why.

 

Fortunately, the enthusiasm of the theatre organ and electronic boys has been such, that almost the entire history has been pieced together; albeit in a currently fragmented form. Add to this the reviews in "The Organ" over the years, the pipe organ listing on NPOR, (woefully incomplete in the case of Compton, it has to be said), and the extant, important instruments such as Downside, Trinity Hull, Hull City Hall, Southamnpton Guildhall, Maida Vale BBC, and all those associated with keeping these instruments alive; the wider picture starts to emerge. Add to this various technical articles and in depth studies of electric actions and electronics, coupled to all the readily available patents, and the subject is all there waiting to be strung together, codified and made readable.

 

The grey areas may reveal themselves eventually, such as Compton's early education at Birmingham, and the people who taught him. That, I think, is very important. Then there was his relationship status, his extraordinary collaboration with Taylor, and some of the sharp minds who worked on electronics; a link flowing directly to Arthur Lord and Wyvern Organs.

 

I have even tracked down details of the extension derivatives as they apply to Mixture registers, and of course, close to home are two important, fully functioning Compton organs, at Ilkley PC and Wakefield Cathedral; the former a remarkable achievement in an acoustically dead church, and the latter only slightly changed from what Compton left.

 

Other sources include the family tree and historical bods in the place of his birth, as well as less likely sources such as cinema historians, who are just as potty and enthusiastic as organ enthusiasts.

 

A bit of a grey area is Compton's association with wartime military work, when they were (presumably) required to assist in the war effort and the development of RADAR. Here, the MOD may be able to help, but I suspect that this will be a slow process. Maurice Forsythe-Grant was also hovering around in the background, as was Ted Deegens; the former having a military background and connections with India.

 

There are Australian connections to pursue, and at least one organ builder who carried on where Compton finished, as well as a large four manual theatre organ installed in Cairo, Egypt.

 

One thing which makes the Compton "story" so straightforward, is the fact that he and his team replicated many things time and time again, so actually, it isn't as complicated as it might otherwise be.

 

If you come to think about it, the only things missing are staff lists, actual company records and the sort of inside knowledge which provides interesting anecdotes. That is more to do with padding out and making a story readable, but actually, the tac I am taking is altogether more scientific and historical, because Compton and those with whom he worked, were extremely important in the development of electro-acoustic music.

 

Furthermore, two short articles written in the hand of John Compton are a fascinating insight to the way he thought and worked.....meticulous is the appropriate word. As for the eventual downfall of the company, the seeds were sown much earlier, and that is revealed in Compton's article about "The organ of the future," which is so far wide of what happened in reality, it tells us why the company simply had to fail in due course, short of a drastic change in direction which never happened.

 

On the other hand, everything that Compton and his team achieved in the electronic field, reached maturity within a very short time, and continues to this day; albeit in digital form.

 

As I say, I have a mass of information, and more is being revealed as time goes on, but at a much slower rate. I think, at a broad guess, I am 90% of the way there.

 

Douglas Corr, please hang on to those copies of "The Organ"......I may need them, if you haven't had them shredded into horse bedding or cat litter.

 

MM

 

 

 

PS: There are also quite a lot of photographs in existence; especially those of the factory, which say more than a thousands words each.

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Laurence Elvin also put together quite a lot of information on Compton in Pipes and Actions - someone recently commented on this elsewhere. It seems fairly ok and not overladen with 'memorabilia'.

 

A

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Laurence Elvin also put together quite a lot of information on Compton in Pipes and Actions - someone recently commented on this elsewhere. It seems fairly ok and not overladen with 'memorabilia'.

 

A

 

==============================

 

Thanks for that. I was aware of it, but I've never actually read it. However, the cinema organ people will be the ones I will contact, because they have preserved many of the original actions and will know them intimately; these being shared, of course, with those found in the church/concert organs. Hands on is a lot better than merely reading about things, but of course, I will read the Elvin script at some stage.

 

MM

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==============================

 

....and of course, close to home are two important, fully functioning Compton organs, at Ilkley PC and Wakefield Cathedral; the former a remarkable achievement in an acoustically dead church, and the latter only slightly changed from what Compton left.

 

....Maurice Forsythe-Grant was also hovering around in the background, as was Ted Degens;

 

 

MM

 

 

I have no personal experience of Ilkley (or Wakefield), but I remember Elvin - rather uncharacteristically, I thought - lamenting that the original Lewis had been altered. From what I can gather, the latter was a rather skeletal scheme which gave more than might be expected of it. I feel that Lewises (like Binnses) need to be above a certain size to be effective, otherwise they can be rather unwieldy and lacking in both subtlety and excitement. There are obviously exceptions to this generalisation, but Ilkley looks to be a sensible and effective Compton makeover with good material as its basis.

 

Maurice Grant had a student friend with Compton connections and was a frequent visitor to the factory. He acquired the materials for a small house organ from there. I would imagine that the state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical work would have appealed to him over that of any other builder, and some of his early work (including a solo effort before the War which ended up in a church in Hitchin) was very Comptonesque. The first D&R/GD&R/GD&B jobs could perhaps be seen as incorporating the excellencies of Compton without the eccentricities - what the Compton firm might have produced if it had survived. John Degens and Ted Rippin were Compton men who wanted to set up on their own because they felt Comptons' were going downhill rapidly. Ian Bell came to the same conclusion and moved to Mander. I should imagine that the loss of Degens and Rippin would have been a severe blow to the firm, both being consummate craftsmen.

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==============================

 

 

I have no personal experience of Ilkley (or Wakefield), but I remember Elvin - rather uncharacteristically, I thought - lamenting that the original Lewis had been altered. From what I can gather, the latter was a rather skeletal scheme which gave more than might be expected of it. I feel that Lewises (like Binnses) need to be above a certain size to be effective, otherwise they can be rather unwieldy and lacking in both subtlety and excitement. There are obviously exceptions to this generalisation, but Ilkley looks to be a sensible and effective Compton makeover with good material as its basis.

 

Maurice Grant had a student friend with Compton connections and was a frequent visitor to the factory. He acquired the materials for a small house organ from there. I would imagine that the state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical work would have appealed to him over that of any other builder, and some of his early work (including a solo effort before the War which ended up in a church in Hitchin) was very Comptonesque. The first D&R/GD&R/GD&B jobs could perhaps be seen as incorporating the excellencies of Compton without the eccentricities - what the Compton firm might have produced if it had survived. John Degens and Ted Rippin were Compton men who wanted to set up on their own because they felt Comptons' were going downhill rapidly. Ian Bell came to the same conclusion and moved to Mander. I should imagine that the loss of Degens and Rippin would have been a severe blow to the firm, both being consummate craftsmen.

 

==========================

 

Thanks for the interesting reply; much of the content being buried somewhere in my data collection on Compton. I sense that Compton was at his very best when he was re-building organs, and had a good basis on which to build. That is very much the case with Hull City Hall, Trinity Hull, Ilkley and even Wakefield among others. The dividing line seems to be the inheritance of an indpendent Swell Organ (at the least), and as I know the organ at Ilkley possibly better than most, I can vouch for the fact that the new and old blend wonderfully. A smallish church with a 53 speaking stop organ, would normally be a recipe for something totally over-bearing, but it is just loud enough and contains voices of great subtlety. It is also one of the few non-concert or cathedral organs to include the 32ft Polyphone, and it's only a short 11 mile hop to go and investigate. Additionally, the Ilkley organ has the most exquisite English oak twin-cases, carved by the fanous "mouseman" Robert Thompson of Kilburn. The church furnishings and organ cases are worth a trip on their own.

 

 

http://www.ilkleypc.co.uk/index.php?page=organ

 

Diverting slightly, I recall sitting in a nice cafe in Settle, North Yorkshire, where all the dining furniture was by the "mouseman," and with a pen and a piece of paper, I priced up the modern-day value of it new. I recall spluttering in disbelief, when the furniture turned out to be worth more than the builidng!!!!

 

Of course, the compton legacy continued after the company folded, but in the southern hemisphere. However, that's something I have still to investigate fully.

 

The decline of the company has a certain irony, for they were on the cusp of something remarkable, in that they had made enormous strides in electrone design. At the time of the opening of the Festival Hall, a Compton electronic was installed, and it was considered so good by some, including the Rector of St Bride's, Fleet Street, that the original proposal was to have one installed at that particular church. Fortunately, good sense prevailed, and possibly the finest pure Compton organ ever built now graces this lovely Wren church. That was, of course, post John Compton, who was not around to see or hear it.

 

Strangely enough, the work of Compton is not really the problem at the moment, The main problem surrounds those early years, when he entered into partnership with others, before going solo. Perhaps we will never know all the influences which shaped his remarkable experiments in tonal synthesis, but it is worth having a stab at it until I know that the secrets died with him.

 

What I can say by way of anecdote, is that even in those early years, he had hopped onto a remarkable bus in the company of other "technocrats," and what they achieved together was remarkable, if currently deeply unfashionable.

 

I suspect that beneath the introvert eccentricity of John Compton, there dwelt an intellectual tiger with a voracious appetite.

 

MM

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Thanks for the interesting reply; much of the content being buried somewhere in my data collection on Compton. I sense that Compton was at his very best when he was re-building organs, and had a good basis on which to build. That is very much the case with Hull City Hall, Trinity Hull, Ilkley and even Wakefield among others. The dividing line seems to be the inheritance of an indpendent Swell Organ (at the least), and as I know the organ at Ilkley possibly better than most, I can vouch for the fact that the new and old blend wonderfully. A smallish church with a 53 speaking stop organ, would normally be a recipe for something totally over-bearing, but it is just loud enough and contains voices of great subtlety. It is also one of the few non-concert or cathedral organs to include the 32ft Polyphone, and it's only a short 11 mile hop to go and investigate. Additionally, the Ilkley organ has the most exquisite English oak twin-cases, carved by the fanous "mouseman" Robert Thompson of Kilburn. The church furnishings and organ cases are worth a trip on their own.

 

 

http://www.ilkleypc.co.uk/index.php?page=organ

 

Diverting slightly, I recall sitting in a nice cafe in Settle, North Yorkshire, where all the dining furniture was by the "mouseman," and with a pen and a piece of paper, I priced up the modern-day value of it new. I recall spluttering in disbelief, when the furniture turned out to be worth more than the builidng!!!!

 

Of course, the compton legacy continued after the company folded, but in the southern hemisphere. However, that's something I have still to investigate fully.

 

The decline of the company has a certain irony, for they were on the cusp of something remarkable, in that they had made enormous strides in electrone design. At the time of the opening of the Festival Hall, a Compton electronic was installed, and it was considered so good by some, including the Rector of St Bride's, Fleet Street, that the original proposal was to have one installed at that particular church. Fortunately, good sense prevailed, and possibly the finest pure Compton organ ever built now graces this lovely Wren church. That was, of course, post John Compton, who was not around to see or hear it.

 

Strangely enough, the work of Compton is not really the problem at the moment, The main problem surrounds those early years, when he entered into partnership with others, before going solo. Perhaps we will never know all the influences which shaped his remarkable experiments in tonal synthesis, but it is worth having a stab at it until I know that the secrets died with him.

 

What I can say by way of anecdote, is that even in those early years, he had hopped onto a remarkable bus in the company of other "technocrats," and what they achieved together was remarkable, if currently deeply unfashionable.

 

I suspect that beneath the introvert eccentricity of John Compton, there dwelt an intellectual tiger with a voracious appetite.

 

MM

 

John Compton was certainly hands-on during the rebuilding and enlargement of Holy Trinity, Hull, circa 1937/38. But Hull City Hall, the rebuilding and enlargement

of the war damaged 1911 Forster & Andrews in 1950/51, was entirely under the direction of the equally talented Jimmy Taylor. At that time John Compton was a sick man and the John Compton Organ Company was under the control of JT.

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