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Just a question to put out into the world. If a builder takes an existing organ and transplants it to a new location – with significant changes and redesign, a new console, one new case in his design, new blowers and some new pipe work – what name will go on the builders plate? One case of the vintage organ however will be unaltered and also be installed in the church.

Your opinion please.

WM

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Just a question to put out into the world. If a builder takes an existing organ and transplants it to a new location – with significant changes and redesign, a new console, one new case in his design, new blowers and some new pipe work – what name will go on the builders plate? One case of the vintage organ however will be unaltered and also be installed in the church.

Your opinion please.

WM

 

 

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

 

 

I always like the way one particular organ-builder did it.

 

I know a local organ built in the 19th century by Laycock & Bannister Ltd., not a bad instrument at all, and still giving sterling service.

 

The last overhaul (rather than re-build) was carried out by Henry Willis & Sons., and the console plate simply reads:-

 

Laycock & Bannister Ltd

 

(Improved by Henry Willis & Sons 1952)

 

 

I think that's an acknowledgement of sorts, but demonstrates absolutely no modesty whatsoever!

 

It's especially poignant, because the poor sod who built it is buried in the grave-yard outside!

 

 

MM

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Guest Barry Oakley
==============================

I always like the way one particular organ-builder did it.

 

I know a local organ built in the 19th century by Laycock & Bannister Ltd., not a bad instrument at all, and still giving sterling service.

 

The last overhaul (rather than re-build) was carried out by Henry Willis & Sons., and the console plate simply reads:-

 

Laycock & Bannister Ltd

 

(Improved by Henry Willis & Sons 1952)

I think that's an acknowledgement of sorts, but demonstrates absolutely no modesty whatsoever!

 

It's especially poignant, because the poor sod who built it is buried in the grave-yard outside!

MM

 

 

Yes, this sort of thing also irks me. Anyone sitting at the console for the first time and who knew little about the organ in Hull City Hall could be led to believe that it was the work of Rushworth & Dreaper, for it is their name that blatantly overpowers all others on the console name tablet when in fact the organ is essentially Forster & Andrews (1911), significantly enlarged, revoiced and rebuilt by John Compton (1951) and tinkered with by R&D from the late 1950's until their demise in recent years. (Sorry for the seemingly endless sentence).

 

To my knowledge it never happens on pianos; a Bechstein is always a Bechstein and a Steinway is always a Steinway, etc., etc.

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Just a question to put out into the world. If a builder takes an existing organ and transplants it to a new location – with significant changes and redesign, a new console, one new case in his design, new blowers and some new pipe work – what name will go on the builders plate? One case of the vintage organ however will be unaltered and also be installed in the church.

Your opinion please.

WM

 

Hi

 

At least that one acknowledges the original builder - the removal of original nameplates is one of the problems with surveys on NPOR - if there's no evidence at the organ, it can be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to find who has worked on an organ.

 

To my mind, the best scheme is to either retain the old builders plates in situ - and for the latest one to add a plate, or at least to incorporate salient information on the plate, as is the case on one local organ where the builders plate reads somethinglike: "Binns (date), moved and rebuilt here (date) Michael Fletcher".

 

R&D seemed to remove everything else - the organ in outr local Anglican church is Forster & Andrews, rebuilt Hope-Jones (twice) and a couple of other builders, but the only plate is R&D.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

At least that one acknowledges the original builder - the removal of original nameplates is one of the problems with surveys on NPOR - if there's no evidence at the organ, it can be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to find who has worked on an organ.

 

To my mind, the best scheme is to either retain the old builders plates in situ - and for the latest one to add a plate, or at least to incorporate salient information on the plate, as is the case on one local organ where the builders plate reads somethinglike: "Binns (date), moved and rebuilt here (date) Michael Fletcher".

 

R&D seemed to remove everything else - the organ in outr local Anglican church is Forster & Andrews, rebuilt Hope-Jones (twice) and a couple of other builders, but the only plate is R&D.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

Others frequently guilty of this sin were Osmond and Hele.

 

Occasionally one wishes with some builders that they WOULD put a console plate up, as a means of managing expectations when one draws for the first time towards an unfamiliar organ - to know before the wind goes on that this is an instrument revoiced by John Coulson with electrics by Noterman would do much to prepare for the crushing disappointment of that first chord.

 

With pianos too there are often some surprises - there are some VERY good little-known makes (a very striking example indeed is Berry - I know someone who has a Bechstein next to a Berry in his music room, and everyone makes a beeline for the Bechstein, with is by far the inferior of the two) who occasionally took part in the activity of producing unbranded pianos for provincial music shops to add their own branding to.

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Guest Barry Oakley
...With pianos too there are often some surprises - there are some VERY good little-known makes (a very striking example indeed is Berry - I know someone who has a Bechstein next to a Berry in his music room, and everyone makes a beeline for the Bechstein, with is by far the inferior of the two) who occasionally took part in the activity of producing unbranded pianos for provincial music shops to add their own branding to.

 

As you probably know, David, the P&S Organ Supply Company has built quite a number of organs to which builders have subsequently appended their nameplates. I believe one such organ is perhaps quite well-known in Yorkshire where the builder simply assembled the various parts from P&S then tuned, regulated and finally stuck his plate on the job.

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Others frequently guilty of this sin were Osmond and Hele.

 

Occasionally one wishes with some builders that they WOULD put a console plate up, as a means of managing expectations when one draws for the first time towards an unfamiliar organ - to know before the wind goes on that this is an instrument revoiced by John Coulson with electrics by Noterman would do much to prepare for the crushing disappointment of that first chord.

 

With pianos too there are often some surprises - there are some VERY good little-known makes (a very striking example indeed is Berry - I know someone who has a Bechstein next to a Berry in his music room, and everyone makes a beeline for the Bechstein, with is by far the inferior of the two) who occasionally took part in the activity of producing unbranded pianos for provincial music shops to add their own branding to.

 

 

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

 

It's nothing new is it?

 

For years, I would sometimes drop in and play a lovely.....a truly lovely....organ in Long Preston PC, North of Skipton, N Yorks.

 

This was the organ over which quite an extended argument ensued, because it was alleged that it contained earlier pipework by Schmidt, and also has two very beautiful, but completely architecturally unrelated cases; one of which was a case-front which first graced the organ when it was first installed in a large, private residence. (In dark walnut, in classical style, and where THE WHOLE CASE is hinged, and pulls away completely from the body of the organ.......possibly unique in that respect).

 

The other case has been chopped about a bit, to fit under a chancel arch, but it is still very nice.

 

On the console, the nameplate reads "Denman of York," who was taleneted organ-builder in his own rights, and had worked as a foreman for Hill when he did York Minster.

 

End of story? Well no!

 

It turns out that the organ was originally by William Hill, and Denman merely "cut and shut" various things to make it go in the church.

 

Still, at least it wasn't altered too much tonally by the sounds of it, and it is still "more or less" in the Hill camp by default.

 

As for the "Schmidt" pipework.....that has been discounted by Dr Nicholas Thistlethwaite.......but the pipes certainly SOUND very old.

 

MM

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Vis-a-vis cases that slide to allow access to the innards, I first met this feature in the orgue-du-choeur in the church of St Servan-sur-Mer. There is a 3 manual Cavaille Coll on the gallery and a little accompanimental organ at the east end. The large organ was recently rebuilt.

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

 

It's nothing new is it?

 

For years, I would sometimes drop in and play a lovely.....a truly lovely....organ in Long Preston PC, North of Skipton, N Yorks.

 

This was the organ over which quite an extended argument ensued, because it was alleged that it contained earlier pipework by Schmidt, and also has two very beautiful, but completely architecturally unrelated cases; one of which was a case-front which first graced the organ when it was first installed in a large, private residence. (In dark walnut, in classical style, and where THE WHOLE CASE is hinged, and pulls away completely from the body of the organ.......possibly unique in that respect).

 

The other case has been chopped about a bit, to fit under a chancel arch, but it is still very nice.

 

On the console, the nameplate reads "Denman of York," who was taleneted organ-builder in his own rights, and had worked as a foreman for Hill when he did York Minster.

 

End of story? Well no!

 

It turns out that the organ was originally by William Hill, and Denman merely "cut and shut" various things to make it go in the church.

 

Still, at least it wasn't altered too much tonally by the sounds of it, and it is still "more or less" in the Hill camp by default.

 

As for the "Schmidt" pipework.....that has been discounted by Dr Nicholas Thistlethwaite.......but the pipes certainly SOUND very old.

 

MM

 

 

Has it been established where that instrument came from? The church's story is that it's the old organ from St Albans Abbey, but the NPOR says it can't possibly be.

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Has it been established where that instrument came from? The church's story is that it's the old organ from St Albans Abbey, but the NPOR says it can't possibly be.

 

 

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

 

Re; The Hill organ at Long Preston PC, N.Yorks.

 

This is an organ where I fall into the category of "the perpetually mystified," because I used to help tune and maintain this organ when I was about 15.

 

The date of the original Hill is given as 1868, but that cannot really be entirely true, due to the fact that the cases (two of them) are quite different, and the nave-facing case is more in keeping with perhaps late 18th century design. The chancel-facing case is along more traditional "early Victorian" design, which could really mean anything. I made a mistake by suggesting the material as walnut, when it is apparently dark-stained mahogany. That in itslef may be a clue, because mahogany, if I recall, became popular after about 1800 or so, and followed on from the "walnut phase" of the previous generation, and the dark-stain might have been an attempt to blend the case in with older, (perhaps Tudor?) surroundings, where the woodwork (probably oak) would have tarnished. Again I have no firm evidence, but the general folklore is that this particular case came from a large private-house, as of course the "Bracewell Queen" (Bracewell being quite close to Skipton) Cavaille-Coll organ did before it ended up in the Parr Hall, Warrington.

 

Now, "if" the nave-facing case, with its very spectacular hinged arrangement, is from an earlier organ somewhere else, then it would not be unreasonable to assume that some of the pipework "may" be older than imagined if pipes were still there to be plundered, as they probably would be. This is the general wisdom which has prevailed, to my knowledge, over the past 40+ years and more.

 

Two things I do know, are that Long Preston had two boom periods. Firstly around the late 18th century, when there was a new demand for supplies of raw wool in the mills, just down the canal system. Then came the railway, which caused another mini-boom for the village, and it's interesting that the splendid church fittings demonstrate the former, and the organ reflects the latter. (I really COVET those 18th century chandeliers).

 

Of course, that doesn't connect with either St.Albans or Schmidt, so we are no closer.

 

What I dimly recall are certain stopped wooden flute-pipes on the delicate and unenclosed Choir Organ, which looked much older than the rest of the pipework, but short of crawling around looking for pencil marks and other clues, it would be impossible to shed further light on that gut instinct.

 

What can be said, is that the organ has a "history," and perhaps the myths or errors of omission are every bit as important as the truth, whatever that may be.

 

I recall something I said at the age of 15 however, and oddly enough, I would more or less stick with it to-day. I suggested to Frank Banister (Laycock & Bannister Ltd), that this particular organ should serve as a tonal model for an English parish-church "baroque revival" organ, because it has musical integrity, great warmth and quite amazing clarity. I guess I may have been ahead of my time, because Great St.Mary's, Cambridge has much in common with this splendid, modest three-manual, and speaks into a similar (but spacially smaller) sort of acoustic. Interestingly, it is fascinating to compare the organ at Long Preston with the Isaac Abbott organ at Queensbury Parish Church, Bradford.....same sort of thing, with 3 -manuals and a modest stop-list, donated by John Foster (of Black Dyke Mills band fame).

 

The connection between Abbott and Hill is striking; the former working for the latter before he set up on his own. Again, with a proper pedal division, the original Abbott (largely as built, save for the Pedal Trombone which came from Rotherham), would serve as a model for a modern "English Classical" parish-church organ.

 

Two important and very beautiful instruments.

 

MM

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

 

Re; The Hill organ at Long Preston PC, N.Yorks.

 

This is an organ where I fall into the category of "the perpetually mystified," because I used to help tune and maintain this organ when I was about 15.

 

The date of the original Hill is given as 1868, but that cannot really be entirely true, due to the fact that the cases (two of them) are quite different, and the nave-facing case is more in keeping with perhaps late 18th century design. MM

 

Hi

 

looking at the NPOR entry, there was an earlier barrel organ in the church - maybe part of the case of that was reused, or secondhand cases from elsewhere. Dating an organ from the casework is fraught with problems, as "new" organs are often fitted into much older cases. Also, the cases may be a later addition - again fairly common.

 

I know the person who supplied the basic info for the NPOR survey, and he is one of the most reliable sources that we have, so I would be very surprised if the Hill date is wrong - but given tha there's no reference in the BOA under that church, it could have come from elsewhere. The joys of historical research!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

looking at the NPOR entry, there was an earlier barrel organ in the church - maybe part of the case of that was reused, or secondhand cases from elsewhere. Dating an organ from the casework is fraught with problems, as "new" organs are often fitted into much older cases. Also, the cases may be a later addition - again fairly common.

 

I know the person who supplied the basic info for the NPOR survey, and he is one of the most reliable sources that we have, so I would be very surprised if the Hill date is wrong - but given tha there's no reference in the BOA under that church, it could have come from elsewhere. The joys of historical research!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

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

 

 

You see how this starts to snowball.......

 

The CONSOLE of the organ has the Denman name upon it, and not that of William Hill, but I don't think that the organ was ever re-built between 1868 and the date of the last work carried out sometime recently.

 

THAT'S the important clue; not whether it is by Hill.

 

It SUGGESTS that this may be an earlier William Hill organ, does it not, which Denman installed in the church, and to which he put his name on the console?

 

There's also another slight clue, in that the instrument has a Tierce Mixture. Now I wonder when Hill largely passed these by, and started using quint-mixtures? 1868 is quite late, I suspect, and organs did sometimes move around the Yorkshire Dales. The Schulze at Doncaster was a watershed in that department, and quint mixtures became the new fashion, and wasn't that 1857 and not that far away?

 

The organ at Hellifield PC, even though it has been there a long time, originally started life as the Town Hall organ at Settle!

 

I remain mystified by it all, because from wherever those cases originate, they not only do not match, they have been sliced about to fit into the church, and I can't imagine that William Hill would have done that. The instrument was never anywhere else in the church, so far as I am aware. Compare that approach to what he did at Bentham, with that magnificent organ-case with the folding doors; an organ sadly unloved, disused and unwanted to-day.

 

As for the barrel-organ idea, I don't think that is viable. It must have been quite some barrel....it's quite a low, wide case.....again suggesting that it may have been installed in a domestic room at some point, and hinged.

 

There were a lot of very fine, large houses in the Yorkshire Dales, as there still are to-day at places like Broughton and Bolton Abbey; the latter owned by the Duke of Devonshire. (I got an early lesson in photography from HRH Prince Phillip there, and I hadn't a clue it was him! :o )

 

MM

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

You see how this starts to snowball.......

 

The CONSOLE of the organ has the Denman name upon it, and not that of William Hill, but I don't think that the organ was ever re-built between 1868 and the date of the last work carried out sometime recently.

 

THAT'S the important clue; not whether it is by Hill.

 

It SUGGESTS that this may be an earlier William Hill organ, does it not, which Denman installed in the church, and to which he put his name on the console?

 

There's also another slight clue, in that the instrument has a Tierce Mixture. Now I wonder when Hill largely passed these by, and started using quint-mixtures? 1868 is quite late, I suspect, and organs did sometimes move around the Yorkshire Dales. The Schulze at Doncaster was a watershed in that department, and quint mixtures became the new fashion, and wasn't that 1857 and not that far away?

 

The organ at Hellifield PC, even though it has been there a long time, originally started life as the Town Hall organ at Settle!

 

I remain mystified by it all, because from wherever those cases originate, they not only do not match, they have been sliced about to fit into the church, and I can't imagine that William Hill would have done that. The instrument was never anywhere else in the church, so far as I am aware. Compare that approach to what he did at Bentham, with that magnificent organ-case with the folding doors; an organ sadly unloved, disused and unwanted to-day.

 

As for the barrel-organ idea, I don't think that is viable. It must have been quite some barrel....it's quite a low, wide case.....again suggesting that it may have been installed in a domestic room at some point, and hinged.

 

There were a lot of very fine, large houses in the Yorkshire Dales, as there still are to-day at places like Broughton and Bolton Abbey; the latter owned by the Duke of Devonshire. (I got an early lesson in photography from HRH Prince Phillip there, and I hadn't a clue it was him! :rolleyes: )

 

MM

 

Hi

 

I don't see why Hill wouldn't have re-used exisiting cases - or perhaps that was Denman - or maybe the cases were in the church already - without evidence, there's no way of finding out.

 

Cases of house organs (and there's no reason for the barrel organ not to have come from a house - "Ventnor" is pretty vague) sometimes have no relevance to their contents, but are made to fit the available space. Low and wide doesn't have to mean a domestic situation - the chamber organ here at Heaton was about 12ft tall before it was moved into the present church which only has a 10ft ceiling - so it obviously was made for a tall room.

 

Also, Hill organs didn't always have spectacular cases - 2 local ones spring to mind - St. Mary Magdalene, White Abbey, Bradford was a very plain pipe-rack (organ now removed) - and that was a virtually untouched Hill) - and Trinity Church, Rawdon - 2m Hill, again is a piperack, but slightly less plain.

 

You may well be right. I agree that the info on NPOR isn't complete - and without further firm evidence, it can't be, but I've no reason to question it (unlike submissions from certain other surveyors).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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  • 2 months later...

In the city I come from in New Zealand, we have a 1913 Nicholas Pearce organ which has had quite a bit of confusion over who actually built it as the nameplate merely says "Erected by N.T. Pearce".

The Action, soundboards, wind trunks, pipes and bellows weights were actually supplied by Nicholson & Lord and the remainder built by Pearce. Its a great instrument, but is in all original condition and is starting to fail.

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I think that many organ builders can be compared to being like a male lion, who, on taking control of of a pride, after seeing off the former `boss' lion off, kills all his cubs to remove all traces of the predecessor. As David Coram has said, Osmond of Taunton were shockers at this. They had a `trophy' board in the works with various name plates that had been removed leaving only the Osmond plate.

 

In my days with HNB we tried to be honest and either leave the original builder's plate in stiu or include the history on our own up to date plate. Unfortunately although we had idealistic intentions often the original plate was later removed by trophy seeking organ nuts - often the current organist.

 

FF

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The Auckland Town Hall in NZ used to have a really nice 4m 59rank 1911 Norman & Beard organ. If anyone knows the Wellington Town Hall 1906 Norman & Beard, it had just about the same specification as that but a bit bigger. Then in the 1970s George Croft rebuilt the organ to a more Baroque specification and left only 11 of the Norman & Beard ranks in there. A lot of organ builders say that this was a big mistake and if you've seen the current specification, its pretty horrific now. Fortunately the Klais Organ Company is going to be rebuilding it at some point in the future.

 

I'll include the specification shortened up a bit:

 

Great

Principal 16, Quintaton 16, Open Diap 8, Principal 8, Stop'd Diap 8, Spitzflote 8, Oct 4, Gems 4, Nason Flute 4, 12th 2 2/3, 15th 2, Block flute 2, Sesq. II, Mixt III, Trumpets 16-8-4

Swell

Open Diap 8, Chim Flute 8, Salicional 8, Vox Angelica 8, Principal 4, Open Flute 4, Nazard 2 2/3, Gems 2, Tierce 1 3/5, Flageolet 1, Scharf III, Corno di Bassetto 16, Tromp 8, Hautboy 8, Clarion 4, trem

Choir

Contr. Dulciana 16, Lieb. Gedacht 8, Viole d' Orchestre 8, Viole Celeste 8, Dulc. 8, Unda Maris 8, Lieb. Flute 4, Dulcet 4, Quint Flute 2 2/3, Open Flute 2, Mixt II, trem

Positive

Quintaton 16, Principal 8, Gedackt 8, Oct 4, Rohr Flute 4, Oct 2, Wald Flute 2, Larigot 1 1/3, Super Octave 1, Tertian II, Cimbel III, Cromorne 8, trem

Solo

Concert Flute 8, Holz Regal 16, Echo Trump. 8, Vox Humana 8, Rohr Schalmey 8, trem, Fanfare Trumpets 8/4

Pedal

Doub. Opens Metal 32, Wood 32, Open Metal 16, Wood 16, Principal 16, Bourdon 16, Quintaton 16, Dulciana 16, Quint 10 2/3, Oct 8, Spitz Flute 8, Quintade 8, Oct Quint 5 1/3, 15th 4, Rohr Flute 4, Block Flute 2, Rauschquint II, Mixture IV, Contra Bombarde 32, Bombarde 16, Trumpet 16, Holz Regal 16, Bombarde 8, Cromorne 8, Fanfare Trumpet 4, Schalmey 4, Trumpet 2

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