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Alexandra Palace Organ


Guest delvin146
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Guest delvin146
Well this topic seems to have gone surprisingly quiet of late. Anyone got any news before I go back to my prisoner cell block H dvd? Lizzie's been done for fraud and the cops are after her. Rack off ya bitch!

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

 

 

Botheration! I can't get this posting to include the magic word which appeared in the delvin re-post above....

 

I refer to the word 'bitch'.

 

This is because when The Alexandra Palace Question has come up in recent times it seems always to have been in 'bitch'-mode. Compared to countless postings about Worcester Cathedral, Lead in Organ Pipes and The Gloucester Rebuild... comments about AP can generally be expected to be uniformly vitriolic. For me personally, the less this topic is brought up the better - seeing that none of us can do anything to change the present unhappy situation.

 

There are at least two AP sites delvin can visit, I believe, if he's getting withdrawal symptoms. Definitely Cell Block H one of them!

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In case anyone does not know, Feroka is the preferred developer for Alexandra Palace, and hopefully the contract will soon be signed.

Feroka has offered support for the organ and we hope that this will happen, but no-one can talk to then until the company becomes lessee.

People are up in arms because Feroka is not confirming that the original tv studios,will be retained in their present position, or indeed as a museum. Roger Tucker a member of the Appeal, and ex employee of the BBC at AP put a very strong case for the studios, organ and theatre at last week's meeting.

I am confident that the lovely theatre will be restored, but we will wait and see.

The Great Hall in which the Willis organ is situated will remain as an exhibition centre, which will bring its own problems in arranging suitable concert dates.etc

The last concert attracted 17 people, so where is all the support when Feroka will need to be convinced that the organ is viable.?

I would love to see a pipe organ back in the theatre, and this venue would make a wonderful home for a homeless Wurlitzer.

Colin Richell.

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In case anyone does not know, Feroka is the preferred developer for Alexandra Palace, and hopefully the contract will soon be signed.

Feroka has offered support for the organ and we hope that this will happen, but no-one can talk to then until the company becomes lessee.

People are up in arms because Feroka is not confirming that the original tv studios,will be retained in their present position, or indeed as a museum. Roger Tucker a member of the Appeal, and ex employee of the BBC at AP put a very strong case for the studios, organ and theatre at last week's meeting.

I am confident that the lovely theatre will be restored, but we will wait and see.

The Great Hall in which the Willis organ is situated will remain as an exhibition centre, which will bring its own problems in arranging suitable concert dates.etc

The last concert attracted 17 people, so where is all the support when Feroka will need to be convinced that the organ is viable.?

I would love to see a pipe organ back in the theatre, and this venue would make a wonderful home for a  homeless Wurlitzer.

Colin Richell.

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Guest Lee Blick
The last concert attracted 17 people, so where is all the support when Feroka will need to be convinced that the organ is viable.?

 

If that is all that the Friends of the Organ at Ally Pally, or whatever it is called, can muster then the organ is probably doomed. It is sad but I am not surprised.

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Guest Roffensis

To quote a Walt Disney children's film.......... :lol:

 

 

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"....... B)

 

 

Let's hope we can stick to positive comments this time around!

 

 

 

And yes, Lee Blick, I agree with you in principle.

 

 

 

R

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  • 2 weeks later...

Before the war Plymouth had two four-manual organs right next door to each other: a Hele in St Andrew's Church and a Father Willis in the Guildhall. The Hele had just been rebuilt - literally; it had not even been heard in public - when both organs were destroyed in an air raid one night in 1941.

 

Eventually St Andrew's replaced their organ with a IVP Rushworth & Dreaper, but no organ has ever been installed in the renovated Guildhall.

 

Last weekend a local organist told me that he was told that, as a replacement for the Guildhall organ, the City Council was offered the Ally Pally organ for free if they would remove it at their own expense. The council declined the offer. I assume this must have happened after 1950 when the Ally Pally organ was dismantled.

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Before the war Plymouth had two four-manual organs right next door to each other: a Hele in St Andrew's Church and a Father Willis in the Guildhall. The Hele had just been rebuilt - literally; it had not even been heard in public - when both organs were destroyed in an air raid one night in 1941.

 

Eventually St Andrew's replaced their organ with a IVP Rushworth & Dreaper, but no organ has ever been installed in the renovated Guildhall.

 

Last weekend a local organist told me that he was told that, as a replacement for the Guildhall organ, the City Council was offered the Ally Pally organ for free if they would remove it at their own expense. The council declined the offer. I assume this must have happened after 1950 when the Ally Pally organ was dismantled.

 

I have a vague memory of having seen a photograph of the former instrument in the Plymouth Guildhall (before WWII) - am I correct in thinking that it looked a little like the Willis at the Alexandra palace?

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Indeed - in fact, more 'no' than 'yes'.

 

I might have been thinking of another instrument. Oh well.

 

Am I correct in believing that, after the cessation of hostilities, the City Fathers were given the choice between having two three-clavier instruments (one in St. Andrew's and one in the Guildhall) or one large four-clavier instrument in St. Andrew's (and no organ in the Guildhall)?

 

Presumably, Harry Moreton was one of the City Fathers....

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I have never heard anything to that effect, but I will make some enquiries and see who knows what. I would be surprised if this were the case, however, since the information I do have rather points the other way.

 

Harry Moreton was never a member of the council, so far as I know, but he was a civic official insofar as he was appointed Borough Organist in 1899 in succession to John Hele (second son of the organ builder George Hele).* Hele, at his fortnightly organ recitals had enjoyed audiences of around 1,000, but by the 1930s numbers were declining and at one recital in 1938 Moreton's audience numbered precisely one!

 

According to Moreton's obituary in the local paper, the council took stock of the situation shortly before the instrument was blitzed:

 

"In 1940 had come a curious break in his long career as city organist. Because it appeared that the Guildhall organ was rarely being used the City Council decided that Moreton should retire, and that his services should be discontinued. Public reaction was so violent that the Council revised its decision and reappointed Dr Moreton at a salary of £200 a year. The City council never again attempted to dismiss this valued servant, even though there was no organ for the city organist to play."

 

So it would seem that, even before the organ got destroyed, the council were already feeling that their money could be put to better uses.

 

*St Andrew's is the city's main church, but it is independent of the council; the organist's post is not a council appointment and never has been.

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Last weekend a local organist told me that he was told that, as a replacement for the Guildhall organ, the City Council was offered the Ally Pally organ for free if they would remove it at their own expense. The council declined the offer. I assume this must have happened after 1950 when the Ally Pally organ was dismantled.

I have now been told that the offer was certainly made before this - probably around 1945 or 1946.

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Am I correct in believing that, after the cessation of hostilities, the City Fathers were given the choice between having two three-clavier instruments (one in St. Andrew's and one in the Guildhall) or one large four-clavier instrument in St. Andrew's (and no organ in the Guildhall)?
I spoke to Harry Moreton's assistant and successor at St Andrew's (You will probably know who I mean) and he had heard nothing of this. We do not think this can be correct.
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The latest news is that the proposed transfer of Ally Pally to Firoz Kassam(Feroka) has met with a flood of complaints from Haringey residents, and they have 30 days before the order is granted.

It seems that the concerns relate to the TV studios rather than the Willis organ or theatre.

I understand residents concerns in this context, but feel that they are being very shortsighted. The AP Trustees will continue to have some control over the lessee.

Colin Richell.

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I spoke to Harry Moreton's assistant and successor at St Andrew's (You will probably know who I mean) and he had heard nothing of this. We do not think this can be correct.

 

OK - thank you, Vox. I had thought that the person of whom we speak was the original source of the information. We now seem to be at an impasse!

 

Incidentally - j'aime les humbugs des fruits, s'il vous plait, M'sieur....

 

:blink:

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