Author Topic: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???  (Read 7268 times)

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KB7DQH

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Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« on: February 04, 2012, 01:12:52 AM »
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Union Chapel's Henry Willis organ to be restored


The Union Chapel in Islington has been given £470,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to repair its organ.

The grant will help to restore the machinery and pipe work of the Henry Willis organ, which is Grade I listed on the National Pipe Organ Register.

It was built in 1887 and is the only organ of its type in England with its original hydraulic machinery intact.

Now in a poor state of repair, it is estimated that the organ has only two to three years of playable life left.


Adele gig

The project will also involve a three-year programme of education activities, volunteering opportunities and community outreach work.

Sue Bowers, head of HLF in London, said: "The Union Chapel Willis organ is a rare and beautiful instrument at the heart of one of the most loved community venues in North London.

"This money will mean that this precious heritage asset can be conserved and restored to full working order, so that it can once again entertain and engage audiences young, old and new."

Philip Walker, who chairs the Union Chapel Project, said he was "thrilled and slightly overwhelmed".

The Union Chapel is known for hosting gigs by acts including U2, Adele and Noel Gallagher while remaining a functioning place of worship.

Eric
KB7DQH
The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 04:15:51 AM »
About time too! I hope this means that this truly inspirational, if nowadays knackered instrument will become better known. It really is a classic Willis, with characterful Lieblich Gedacts, beautiful Claribel Flutes, bright choruses, rich orchestral sounds (particularly a Corno di Bassetto and a Vox Humana equal to the best in the world), and of course those incredible, brazen chorus reeds, with their characteristic 'clang', capped by the usual wonderful jangling tierce mixtures. Grandeur is one of the first words to spring to mind when asked to describe it. It's not enormous but it does have enormous impact - full organ, underpinned by the Pedal Ophicleide 16' on 12" wind, is very powerful for a mere 37-stop organ. That it retains its original action (1884 Vincent Willis patent Floating Lever, I believe [denoted as 'Barker Lever' on NPOR] to Great and Swell, direct mechanical to the Choir, 'compressed air' to the Pedal) and blowing equipment - and is also still at its original sharp pitch, which has never been altered! - only serves to reinforce its importance.

What is more, I hope that its complete restoration and the very multi-purpose nature of its home these days will allow it to inspire people who would not normally hear an organ. I was certainly disappointed to find that searching for Union Chapel Organ on YouTube mostly turned up videos of Procol Harum playing there a few years back, using a Hammond...

Also, is it just me or is £470,000 some sort of record for the HLF to award to an organ? Even the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon only got £250k.

Lastly, it is worth pointing out that its predecessor - a three-manual, 39-stop Holdich [his largest organ other than the Lichfield Cathedral job, since rebuilt out of all recognition by Hill in 1908]  - survives in almost equally original condition in the United Reformed Church in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Complete restoration took place in 2006-7: it was reinaugurated by Nigel Allcoat. I have yet to visit that part of England (for those who're interested, there are also two steam-operated heritage railways, including one operating the Leicester-Loughborough stretch of the old Great Central main line, very close by).

The same town's Anglican Parish Church had a 3m Norman & Beard on which Louis Vierne wrote the last of the Vingt-Quatre Pièces de Fantaisie, Les Cloches de Hinckley - it was sadly broken up in the late 1990s following a disastrous rebuild thirty years before, but was replaced by a very fine instrument by the local organ-builder (better known as a famous bell-founder), Taylor, which incorporated earlier pipework (from its previous home) by Brindley & Foster (close associates of Edmund Schulze), and has been much enlarged using both new pipes and some from the old Norman & Beard. The organist at Hinckley PC at the time was called Paul Rochard: it is believed that he was of French origin and had known Vierne at a young age, but further detail has so far escaped me.

I digress!

David Pinnegar

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 11:05:31 AM »
mechanical to the Choir, 'compressed air' to the Pedal) and blowing equipment - and is also still at its original sharp pitch, which has never been altered! - only serves to reinforce its importance.

. . . .  but further detail has so far escaped me.

With regard to the second comment, - thank goodness!!!  :) ;)

But thanks for an informative and interesting post.

With regard to sharp pitch, I think Tony has remarked on it also, but the Victorian harmoniums I have come across, the 1893 Hunter formerly at RSCM is around 1/4 tone sharp and your remark here suggests that pitch is worthy of further examination and I'll continue in the pitch thread I started the other day.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 07:41:00 PM »
I should add, the ex-Union Chapel Holdich was also designed by Henry Gauntlett - so perhaps informed by his experience of working with William Hill and Felix Mendelssohn!

David Drinkell

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 06:04:55 AM »
The Union Chapel Father Willis is indeed a superb example of its type (not quite unaltered, but nearly so), and in a fine building.  I don't think that the hydraulics are the only ones to survive, but there can't be many left.


"....a very fine instrument by the local organ-builder (better known as a famous bell-founder), Taylor..."

Excuse the correction, but the organ  builders, Taylor of Leicester, had no connection with the bell-founders, Taylor of Loughborough.  As far as I know, the only organ-builder who was also a bell-founder was T.C. Lewis.  The only bells of his I know of are four at Fen Ditton in Cambridgeshire (the organ isn't his, it's by J.D. Dixon of Cambridge) - I guess there are others elsewhere.

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 08:07:30 AM »
Ah! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

I was aware that Lewis had written a book called "Organbuilding and bellfounding" or something like that, but I'd never actually read anything about bells of his.

The bizarre thing is that Lewis was trained neither as an organ-builder nor as a bell-founder, but as an architect! However, he went to see the new building at St George's, Doncaster and, while there, heard the new Schulze organ and was so inspired by it that he immediately went off to see Schulze himself (though that may be something of a simplification).

I digress once more...

Contra_Gamba

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 05:50:53 PM »
After a bit of searching around I'm pleased to find a Church, Keston, which has both bells and organ by TC Lewis

http://kent.lovesguide.com/keston.htm

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D02834 (post 1900 so Lewis probably not involved, but it's near enough!)




KB7DQH

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Colchester Moot Hall: Lottery grant to restore organ
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 08:19:36 AM »
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An Edwardian pipe organ that fails "to make the noise you want" is to be restored in Essex thanks to a £416,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The organ, built for Colchester's Moot Hall, was first played publicly at the hall's official opening in May 1902.

A century later a campaign was launched to halt the instrument's deterioration.

Councillor Nigel Chapman said he was "delighted this important part of Colchester's heritage is set to be conserved".

He added: "You can get a sound out of it, but not the noise you want.

"Organists won't now play it because it just reflects badly on their skill. Some work was done on it about 50 years ago - but the leather and wood it's made from have just deteriorated.

"It's a significant part of the character of the Moot Hall and I am extremely excited at the prospect of hearing it played again."


The organ was built specifically for the Baroque inspired town hall by Norfolk-based organ makers Norman and Beard, who also created the Norwich Cathedral Organ.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: "This fine historic instrument is an integral part of the hall and its deterioration has denied concert-goers the chance to hear it for many years.

"As a unique example of a pipe organ, our funding will not only fund restoration but help local people and schools understand how it was built and the traditional craftsmanship involved.

"Soon this will all be put right and the organ can be enjoyed by both music and history lovers alike."

Restoration of the organ is expected to take up to four years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-21910992

Eric
KB7DQH
The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."

David Drinkell

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 10:16:51 PM »
This is my home town and I know the organ well.  It's an amazing beast and incredibly little-known.  The adviser, William McVicker, describes it as one of the best-kept organ secrets in the country.  There are only 28 speaking stops, but it sounds as if it has at least twice those resources.  This is partly due to the big choruses up to 4 rank mixture on Great and Swell and also to Sub Octave Reeds couplers on those manuals.  It was built during the short time that T.C. Lewis was working for Norman & Beard.  I wonder if he had anything to do with the sound.

I had a go on it a few summers ago.  It was in a good mood that day and nearly everything worked.  Having not heard it for about thirty years, I was completely blown away by the quality of the sound.

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N08698

There can't be many organs built in 1902 with a Great thus: 16.8.8.4.4.2.IV.8.4 Sub Octave Reeds.

David Wyld

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 10:52:01 PM »
There can't be many organs built in 1902 with a Great thus: 16.8.8.4.4.2.IV.8.4 Sub Octave Reeds.

Well, 1904, but not SO different, and certainly streets ahead of the others at the time, as with Colchester....

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N04405

All pneumatic, restored recently, 1960s (Walker) minor alterations reversed, 1980s work reversed. Now back in more-or-less original condition and sounding great!



DW

David Drinkell

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Re: Heritage Lottery Fund... funds still available???
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2013, 06:46:53 AM »
What amazes me about the Colchester job is that a big four-rank Mixture was preferred to another Open Diapason or even a Twelfth.  St. Mary-at-the-Walls, five minutes walk away, had a similar-sized Hunter, whose Great Mixture was removed in favour of an extra Open (the organ is now in Brentwood Cathedral, rebuilt by Percy Daniel).

 


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