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Guest Barry Oakley - voluntarily dereg

Holy Trinity Church, Hull

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Guest Barry Oakley

It is most pleasing to see that Paul Derrett and his wife have been appointed to try and rekindle the musical tradition at Holy Trinity Church, Hull, England's largest parish church. It is the best news to come from the church for over 50 years when Peter Goodman was appointed organist and master of choristers. Paul is a wonderful organist and very competent organ builder. This is just what is needed at Hull where the 100-plus stop, four-manual Forster & Andrews/John Compton organ has not been overhauled since it was installed in 1938. It is now in need of some TLC.

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The Hull organ may have 104 stops, but since it is a Compton, surely the more relevant question to ask is how many ranks does it have?

 

Jeremy Jones

London

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Guest Barry Oakley
The Hull organ may have 104 stops, but since it is a Compton, surely the more relevant question to ask is how many ranks does it have?

 

Jeremy Jones

London

 

There are undoubtedly some borrowings, but I first heard it within 10 years of its rebuild and I can tell you its has some lovely colours and full organ is magnificent. It does though need a good overhaul and new transmission system.

 

Quite by coincidence after writing my first para, the telephone rang and it was Peter Goodman, now in his 80's, who was calling me from Spain. He confirmed what I had always thought was right inasmuch that the organ is largely straight. The only extension is on the Great open diapason No. 1 which is available at 8ft, 4ft and 2ft. The Swell dulciana is also available on the Choir and that's about it.

 

It is quite wrong to assume (by inference) that every organ rebuilt and enlarged by John Compton contained wholesale extension. Holy Trinity, Hull, certainly does not.

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There is actually a little more extension than noted above.

From memory the main extensions are: The Great Diapason referred to above as No 1 and available at 8' 4' & 2', is actually No 2. No 1 (which is huge!) appears on the Great only at 8' pitch, but also on the Bombarde (playable on the choir) at 16' 8' & 4' pitches, as well as at 16' and 4' pitches on the pedal - the bottom octave is a diaphone. The Choir Dulciana is a unit rank, which appears on that manual at virtually every pitch from 16' to mixture as well as on the Great at 8' & 4' pitches and on the Pedal at 16' & 8'. The Swell Fagotto appears at 16' & 8' pitches on the Swell, Pedal and Great, whilst the Solo Clarinet is available at 16' & 8' on the Solo and Pedal and at 8' on the Choir. There is a Posaune rank, which is available at 16' & 8' pitches on the Great and Bombarde and at 16' pitch on the pedal, whilst the Solo Tuba 8' & 4' is duplexed to the Bombarde and is extended to 16' on the pedal. The VI rank pedal mixture and the IV rank Bombarde Furniture are derived from other stops, whilst the II rank Great Cymbale and the IV rank Bombarde Cymbale are from the same pipes. In his rebuild, Compton effectively took a fine (but inadequate) Forster and Andrews organ and added a few extensions, did some revoicing and replaced a few ranks to make a much more versatile and effective organ controlled by a mangeable and comfotable console. Several slightly curious features of the Forster & Andrews organ remain - both Vox Angelica and Voix Celeste on the Swell, the Pedal Quint (10 2/3) and Great Quint 5 1/3, four independent 16' Bourdon ranks (Pedal, Great, Choir, Swell (which also appears on the Pedal) and Gamba stops on both the Great and Choir

 

I played the organ occasionally in the 1990's and most recently in summer of 2002, when it was in a very poor state. Neither the Fagotto nor Cymbale ranks nor the 32' Polyphone were working. Several notes of the Tuba and Diapason I ranks were speaking badly or not at all, and the piston system operated on a seemingly more random basis than ever before - the facility to adjust pistons at the console ceased to operate many years ago.

 

If it all worked the organ would be very fine. The biggest tonal deficiencies are that the Diapason I rank does not really blend with anything except its own extensions and the reeds, whilst the mixture work is typical of its period, (which means that the main Great IV rank mixture, in partcular, is very small).

 

It seems that the Church Authorities might now be serious about doing something about the organ (and the music offered in the Church) - hopefully the unique characteristics of the instrument will be preserved and the available funds will be directed towards making it work properly.

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So, does anyone out there know where I can find the full specification of the organ at Holy Trinity, Hull, please? (I note that Paul Derrett has posted at least once on this forum - re-Canterbury Cathedral.) In addition, are there any pictures of the case/console available, please? I tried a Google search, but it was not much help.

 

How about Christchurch Priory (as a contender for the largest parish church in the country?) How are we calculating it - floor area, volume or length (or the time it takes a bride to walk up the nave)? :blink:

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Try www.bios.org.uk and search by place "Kingston upon Hull" and then find Holy Trinity - the 1939 version. There is an old picture of the Console and the full specification including ventils.

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Thank you, I will give it a look.

 

Has no restoration work been undertaken on this instrument since 1939?

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Guest Barry Oakley
Thank you, I will give it a look.

 

Has no restoration work been undertaken on this instrument since 1939?

 

No. The organ only recieved a partial cleaning of pipework by Rushworth & Dreaper during the 1960's.

 

STOPLIST

 

Pedal Organ

Sub Bass 32ft

Open Wood 16ft

Contra Bass 16ft

Open Metal 16ft

Violone 16ft

Bourdon 16ft

Dulciana 16ft

Echo Bourdon 16ft

Quint 10.2/3ft

Principal 8ft

Octave Wood 8ft

Flute 8ft

Dolce 8ft

Quint 5.1/3ft

Prestant 4ft

Flute 4ft

Fourniture VI Rks

Contra Trombone 32ft

Bombarde 16ft

Trombone 16ft

Posaune 16ft

Fagotto 16ft

Bass Clarinet 16ft

Trumpet 8ft

Bassoon 8ft

Clarinet 8ft

 

Choir Organ

Double Dulciana 16ft

Bourdon 16ft

Open Diapason 8ft

Bell Gamba 8ft

Dulciana 8ft

Lieblich Gedeckt 8ft

Gemshorn 4ft

Dulcet 4ft

Lieblich Flote 4ft

Twelfth 2.2/3ft

Nazard 2.2/3ft

Fifteenth 2ft

Piccolo 2ft

Tierce 1.3/5ft

Acuta II Rks

Contra Fagotto 16ft

Fagotto 8ft

Clarinet 8ft

 

 

Bombarde Organ (played on Choir)

Double Open Diapason 16ft

Open Diapason 8ft

Octave 4ft

Fourniture IV Rks

Cymbale IV Rks

Contra Posaune 16ft

Posaune 8ft

Tuba 8ft

Clarion 4ft

 

Great Organ

Double Open Diapason 16ft

Bourdon 16ft

First Open Diapason 8ft

Second Open Diapason 8ft

Third Open Diapason 8ft

Harmonic Claribel 8ft

Gamba 8ft

Stopped Diapason 8ft

Dulciana 8ft

Quint 5.1/3ft

Octave 4ft

Principal 8ft

Waldflute 4ft

Dulcet 4ft

Twelfth 2ft

Fifteenth 2ft

Super Octave 2ft

Mixture IV Rks

Cymbale II Rks

Contra Posaune 16ft

Tromba 8ft

Posaune 8ft

Clarion 4ft

 

Swell Organ

Bourdon 16ft

Geigen 16ft

Viola da Gamba 8ft

Rohr Flute 8ft

Salicional 8ft

Voix Celeste 8ft

Vox Angelica 8ft

Geigen Octave 4ft

Hohl Flute 4ft

Fifteenth 2ft

Mixture III Rks

Sesquialtera II Rks

Contra Fagotto 16ft

Horn 8ft

Trumpet 8ft

Fagotto 8ft

Hautboy 8ft

Clarion 4ft

Tremulant to Reeds

Tremulant to Flues

 

Solo Organ

Clarabella 8ft

Viole d’Orchestre 8ft

Viole Celeste 8ft

Concert Flute 4ft

Double Clarinet 16ft

Orchestral Oboe 8ft

Clarinet 8ft

Vox Humana 8ft

Tuba 8ft

Tuba Clarion 4ft

(Tremulant to Light wind)

 

 

Couplers

 

Ch to Ped

Gt to Ped

Sw to Ped

Sw Oct to Ped

Solo to Ped

Solo Oct to Ped

Pedal Oct

Sw to Ch

Solo to Ch

Ch to Gt

Sw to Gt

Solo to Gt

Solo to Sw

Sw Sub Oct

Sw Oct

Sw Unison Off

Solo Sub Octave

Solo Octave

Solo Unison Off

 

 

 

 

 

Manual Pistons

One double-touch to each manual controlling Pedal coupler

Ten double-touch to Choir and Pedal

Ten double-touch to Great and Pedal

Ten double-touch to Swell and Pedal

Eight to Solo

 

Reversible pistons

 

Sw to Ch

 

Ch to Gt

Sw to Gt

Solo to Gt

Sub Bass 32ft

Contra Trombone 32ft

Trombone 16ft

 

Four General Pistons acting over entire organ

Two Setter Pistons

Gen Cancel Piston

Rocking Tablets: Doubles off, Pedal Silent

 

Toe Pistons

Toe Pistons - six each to Ped, Gt and Sw and Gt to Ped reversible

Toe Piston reducing manuals and pedals to pp

Sustainers to Solo and Choir Organs

Balanced expression pedals to Swell and Solo Organs - with indicators

Balanced Crescendo Pedal - with indicator

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

It is gratifying to find several folks interested in how things are at Holy Trinity, Hull. My wife and I were appointed jointly to run the music as from January 19th this year - she (Serena) runs the music for a 9.30am Family Worship 'Modern' service, and I run the music for 11am Traditional Eucharist - anything else we do together. There are a good number of adults in the reformed choir, some of them with significant talent, and as from 10th April we also have a junior choir, mixed - approximately twenty children. It's very early days, but folks are all very supportive and keen.

 

I realise that everyone reading this post would rather hear about the organ, but to a certain extent the choir work has to come first. If the powers that be (not just clergy and congregation, but towns-people) believe that there is a future for music here - and it's a wonderful place with a very important tradition, - then they will be more inclined to support us when we try to do what is right for the organ

 

The Compton's state of play is this: About twenty of our 108 speaking stops are permanently 'off' but the organ still sounds very fine indeed. The console is worn but servicable, and recently I brought in a Compton specialist and jointly with Geoffrey Coffin of Principal Pipe Organs (who tunes/maintains the instrument) we faced a few hard facts together, also attending to several niggling things that could benefit from t.l.c/ running repair. The switching, though dodgy and very worn is not what is going to put the instrument finally out of action, it is the leatherwork. The membranes in various sets of stop action are expected to give up very soon. As it is, it is imperative to have both blowers switched on in order to play. There is a continuous gale blowing, but at least the mechanism gets a chance. I explained this situation to our church officials as 'filling the bath with both taps running but with the plug out'. Sooner rather than later, there will be insufficient wind still in the system to be able to do duty. There was a big panic three weeks ago when one blower would not start - all the solo, most of the swell and most of the pedal could not be used and at the end of very modest hymn-accompaniments the organ went very flat.

 

Everyone knows this work has to be done and all seem in favour. As far as actual planning has gone, 2008 has been identified as the most likely time that the instrument can be spared for the nine months or so that a complete overhaul would take - 2007 is Wilberforce Year (he was baptised in our font) and the upheaval would be best delayed until after this. I have been asked to draft a scheme and my intial thoughts are as below:

 

If the money can be found (and a lot will have to be solicited by way of grants) the ideal scheme would have

1. The Compton Luminous Console refurbished and resited for services in the Chancel - i.e. lesser and less demanding use

2. A modern console along similar lines installed (and preferably mobile) for use in the Nave

3. Solid State switching introduced, this for reasons of economy and longevity. The old Compton switching to be kept in its cupboards for later generations to marvel at.

4. The stoplist kept intact (every single pipe as played from the Chancel console would remain the same).

5. All leatherwork and electrics replaced, all chests fully refurbished.

 

If money permits, you will not be surprised to hear that I fancy adding a few extra stops - playable only from the new console. There is a surprising amount of space in the north case - the Swell was relocated south of the crossing in 1938 and only a few extended ranks went in its place. A solo reed smaller than the massive Tuba would be very useful, also a T.C. Flute Celeste on the Solo and a Cornet V on the Great, maybe an additional rank on the Choir to give correctly tuned 12th and 19th which currently come off the common Dulciana rank and therefore don't tune. [On being told that the HTH organ was two stops smaller than Westminster Abbey my vicar rather nicely said' well, I suppose we had better add three new ones'. ]

 

There will be several recitals this year so anyone interested to hear this very fine musical instrument (and I do know what a decent organ sounds like) would be welcome to come and hear. They are on the first and third Thursdays of June - September (1pm) and the third Saturday of each month (7.30pm).

 

Any enthuasiast passing by can give me a ring and I'll do my best to let them try it for themselves. Don't all ring at once! My number is (deleted by moderator - see below). Any salesmen call, I'll know which web-site to blame.

 

Paul D.

 

Moderator writes: At my suggestion and with Paul's agreement I have deleted his telephone number to prevent its being used by unscrupulous "phishers". If you wish to contact him, I suggest you send an e-mail using this discussion board e-mail facitlity. Simply click on his underlined screen name above and then click on the option to send him a message. JPM

Edited by John Pike Mander

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Just a word to say that I was fortunate to play this organ for a legal carol service at the end of 2004. With a little bit of careful registering around the most problematic faults, the quality and seemingly infinite tonal resources of this instrument left this student organist wanting more. And i'm sure that there is no truth in the rumour that Diapason I is used as the backup Humber Foghorn :-p.

 

On a wider note...

The appointments of Mr Derrett to Holy Trinity, and of Dr Pemberton (as curator of the City Hall organ, five minutes up Whitefriargate) are very encouraging. Perhaps this is none of my business-I grew up in Hull, but only visit in academic holidays now. However, I hope that if supportive audiences and friends of these fine instruments can be established and nurtured over the coming years, (coupled with a revitalised HT choir) then what has seemed like a bleak ten years for organ/liturgical music in central Hull can be gradually turned into something quite exciting - perhaps even a source of [lowers voice in case the 'thought police' hear] *Civic Pride*.

All the best,

David Lucas.

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Hello, finally an organ forum, that’s good news!

 

Having been the Organ Scholar at the University of Hull and Beverley Minster for the past three years (I graduated this year and am off to Chester Cathedral to take up the Organ Scholarship there :D) I have had the great privilege to play all the ‘main’ organs around East Yorkshire and a lot of the smaller ones. When I first heard that the annual university carol was going to be held at Holy Trinity in December 2003 (and December 2004) I was quite excited because I knew that both the church and the organ were nice and on a large scale. When I first sat down to practise the day before the concert (that was literally all the time I had to practise) on a bitterly cold winter morning (Holy Trinity might be one of the biggest Parish Churches in England but it is defiantly the coldest!!!), I couldn’t help feel disappointed and a bit worried. Having seen the registration of the instrument beforehand I chose to play the Carillon de Westminster by Mr Vierne. Being a Compton organ the thumb pistons on the Great are double touch which (to those not in the know) means that a single press alters only the Great and when pressed all the way also alters the pedal, rather than having a Gt & Pd Comb stop. I was thinking throughout the piece that Gt 3, 7 and 10 completely cancel the pedal when pressed all the way, and guess what happened at the climax of the piece towards the end of the piece when I hit Gt 10 during performance B)

It is a nice organ but it is a great shame that a lot of it doesn’t work or is unusable. I always stand by my opinion that if it did work it would be marvellous as what does work on it sounds fantastic.

 

As for it being the biggest Parish Church, that’s not true. Beverley Minster became a Parish Church after the dissolution in 1548 when King Henry VIII had the colleges and the chapter house destroyed.

 

Heres a picture of me at the organ in Holy Trinity post-concert:

 

10012677fw.jpg

 

and some sounds of the Organ (me playing) and the uni chapel choir (appologies for the tenors sounding so loud - the microphone was next to them!)

 

Handel - And the glory of the Lord

 

JS Bach - Vom Himmel Hoch

 

(click on the 'free' button at the bottom of the page)

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...As for it being the biggest Parish Church, that’s not true. Beverley Minster became a Parish Church after the dissolution in 1548 when King Henry VIII had the colleges and the chapter house destroyed.

 

I originally assumed that this was the case. Apparently, technically, it is not. St. Mary's is the actual Parish Church. Whilst Beverly Minster has a Rector (or is it a Vicar?) and is also has a PCC, I presume that it is somewhat in limbo? Does anyone have any further information on ths slightly pink fish-thing...?

 

Nice photographs, though. The only thing I would wish to alter are the nasty square thumb pistons. Having occasionally stabbed my thumb (under the nail) at Gloucester (could not swear - playing for services...) it REALLY HURT!! :blink: :angry: Personally, I would rather spend the sermon swivelling round piston-heads around in order that the engraved numerals were correctly aligned. (Well, what else should I do in the sermon?)

 

I await a somewhat pained response from the Rev. Newnham... :P

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...[On being told that the HTH organ was two stops smaller than Westminster Abbey my vicar rather nicely said' well, I suppose we had better add three new ones'.]

 

Please may we have your Vicar when you have finished with him? :angry:

 

Seriously, it sounds a good scheme. If you get approval, will the nave console have similar luminous light-touches? If so, will you have them controlled by LEDs (and the choir console, too?) I once had had a few moments of panic some years back at St. Luke's, Chelsea and I also know of colleagues with similar stories at Downside Abbey. As you will know, one of the problems with the old Compton light-touches is that the bulbs kept (keep!) burning out. Unwittingly leaving a stray Contra Posaune 32p wandering around near the beginning of the Coll. Reg. Nunc (Howells) is not something to recommend... :blink:

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I've always been too upset by the sound of the Gloucester organ, and the lack of any real solo reeds, and the lack of a soft reed, and the lack of....

 

to bother too much about the shape of the pistons!

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I originally assumed that this was the case. Apparently, technically, it is not. St. Mary's is the actual Parish Church. Whilst Beverly Minster has a Rector (or is it a Vicar?) and is also has a PCC, I presume that it is somewhat in limbo? Does anyone have any further information on ths slightly pink fish-thing...?

 

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

 

You wouldn't think that Christians would be so eager to talk about size, but they do.

 

Holy Trinity, Hull, so far as I recall, was built originally as a "Chapel of ease", from which the bodies of the dead were floated up-river to suitable burial grounds....I think there was a "Black Death" connection somewhere along the line.

 

I think that the claims of Beverley Minster are a bit much....it was built as a Minster. Tewksbury was built as an abbey, Coventry got burned down, Southwark is now a cathedral and Bridlington PC was originally a priory (and a lot bigger than it is now).

 

At a guess, the largest TRUE parish church, built as such, must be St.Botolph's, Boston, but , Yarmouth,Redcliffe and Newark must be hot on its' heels, and the ground area of Halifax PC is huge.

 

That said, St.Mary's, Beverley, is quite an impressive pile, is it not?

 

I wonder what state that organ is in these days?

 

MM

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Personally, I would rather spend the sermon swivelling round piston-heads around in order that the engraved numerals were correctly aligned. (Well, what else should I do in the sermon?)

 

I await a somewhat pained response from the Rev. Newnham... :blink:

 

Hi

 

You might try listenign - you might even learn something of spiritual benefit!

 

Not all sermons are boring. How would you feel if the audience sat reading books or whatever during your recital - or the choir's anthem?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

You might try listenign - you might even learn something of spiritual benefit!

 

Not all sermons are boring.  How would you feel if the audience sat reading books or whatever during your recital - or the choir's anthem?

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Um...I have tried listening!

 

A few thoughts (Yes, I know that this is not a sermon-posting board):

 

1) Actually the sermons in my church are often boring - whole chunks sound as if they have been downloaded from the internet.

 

2) Preachers often talk for longer than twenty minutes. As a teacher, I can tell you that this is sheer self-indulgence. It is difficult for most people to concentrate for this length of time at a stretch. It is even harder for most people to retain much useful information from such a large quantity of monologue.

 

3) Most people talk loudly through my carefully-prepared voluntaries. As far as I am concerned, the voluntary is part of the service. I find this rude (but un-surprising) and slightly annoying. Generally if one attends a recital, it is by the choice of the individual. I am subjected to (on average) three sermons each Sunday. In fact, there are a number of congregants who regularly converse during both the sung parts of the service and whilst I (or my boss) play the organ. It is, incidentally, these same people who cannot understand why I do not wish to support their 'special' services - wherein they will attempt to explain (for example) the Trinity using three flanellette bed-sheets of differing hue, roped together. After this, they will enjoin everyone to sing songs thanking God for (amongst other things) creatures which 'poo on my shoe'. That I find this attitude hard to comprehend is surely unsurprising!

 

4) Sermon construction: If I were to improvise in a competition in the manner in which some priests, readers and visiting speakers preach, I would certainly be disqualified for failing to stick to the theme (and probably for continuing after the movement has finished, as it were!)

 

Sir, if you are in the position of both giving and receiving well-constructed and concise sermons, then you are indeed fortunate - as are your congregation! Unfortunately, I am not in such a position.

 

Before you unleash a fiery response; no, not all my voluntaries are good and not all are without mishap or slips. However I try fairly to assess each sermon looking for its merits and salient points. Unfortunately, I can only genuinely conclude many times that they are unhelpful, repetitive and most definitely over-long!

 

I honestly believe that the Curé of Ste. Clothilde (during the tenure of César Franck) had a point when, in reply to the observation of his young assistant priest that Franck's playing was both moving and uplifting, said "Yes, my son, he will bring many more people to God than you or I."

 

Right, now I am off to purchase a hard hat....

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I've always been too upset by the sound of the Gloucester organ, and the lack of any real solo reeds, and the lack of a soft reed, and the lack of....

 

to bother too much about the shape of the pistons!

 

Um...then why play it, if you do not like it? Is that not a little like stabbing yourself in the leg with a fork - (it is nice when it stops)?

 

Actually, it has at least two soft reeds. Presumably you do not like the timbre of the Choir Cremona? However, I cannot see what you could find objectionable in the tone of the Swell Hautboy. Either the GO Bourdon or the West Positive Gedecktpommer can act as a suitable accompaniment. In any case, the effect in the stalls of the Choir Cremona is mellowed by the superb acoustics. I like Goucester - but I also like Truro, Exeter, Bristol, Chichester, Salisbury, Ripon, etc. Each have strong and weak points. On each organ, it is possible to play musically and effectively. To play (and hear) the Dupré Prélude et Fugue in B major at Gloucester is a thrilling experience - the music is clear and totally alive. To play (and hear) the first movement of the Elgar Sonata in G at Bristol is, to me, equally thrilling - but in a quite different way.

 

Personally, I would not wish all the cathedral organs in the country to sound the same - I can think of nothing more boring - except listening to a sermon at my own church! :blink:

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I honestly believe that the Curé of Ste. Clothilde (during the tenure of César Franck) had a point when, in reply to the observation of his young assistant priest that Franck's playing was both moving and uplifting, said "Yes, my son, he will bring many more people to God than you or I."

 

Well, it is said, tough, that the very first application of the electric ring bell was at St-Clothilde.

In order to have the possibility for Franck's Curé to impone him silence!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Oh - there goes another dearly-cherished legend.

 

Ah well, there is always Cochereau and his traffic-lights at N.-D. :blink:

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