Author Topic: Christian Science Church Godalming  (Read 9249 times)

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Ian van Deurne

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Christian Science Church Godalming
« on: July 18, 2013, 03:17:03 PM »
I have just heard that there are plans being drawn uo to demolish this church and replace it with an apartment complex, although incorporating a much smaller church. Of course when this kind of thing happens, the last thing that anyone ever gives any thought to is the organ, in this case a small three manual Rushworth & Dreaper (III/25) installed new when the church was completed in 1949. I believe it has an entry on the NPOR but I cannot find it at the moment. The organ received quite major attention by the Willis firm in the early 1990's when the pneumatic action was replaced with electric and some of the pipework revoiced.
I have actually played it but not for a very long time but it was in quite satisfactory condition back then. In fact, I was told by the organist there that it wasn't really used that much, most of the time it spent just playing quietly in the background but as I have never been to a Christian Science church for a service, I cannot say. The organ has no case, it is wholly contained in a chamber behind the "stage" at the front, behind a grille. The console is also in a very strange position, being in a room below this platform, with a rectangular hole at the front so you can look down into it and see the organist, but perhaps this is normal for this kind of building!
As far as I can tell, this idea has only just passed the planning stage but I am trying to stay informed over what's happening and if, or when the building is torn down, what is going to happen to the organ, because usually in these kind of situations, the pipe organ is removed and replaced with.......well you know exactly what.....!   

revtonynewnham

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 10:34:05 AM »
Hi

NPOR entry is at http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N13714

It took me about 10 seconds to find and open the details page. 

In searching on NPOR, the key is to use as few search terms as possible.  Here, just searching for "Godalming" returns a list of surveys for instruments that have "Godalming" in their address fields.  The 4th on the list is the C.S. "church".

Sometimes this sort of search brings up too many entries - that's the time to add further search key words - for example "Godalming Scientist" would return the link to the survey.  "Christian Science" won't find this survey because they're not the correct designation of the church's title, and whoever entered the survey initially seems to have not entered a building type in the requisite field.

Incidentally, the BOA section of the survey reveals that the organ is an R&D rebuild - but the original builder is (currently) unknown.

Hope this helps.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Wyld

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2013, 12:55:27 PM »
I've looked at our file - nothing there regarding an earlier provenance but the actions were all R&D pneumatic until 1991. 

I'd be interested to know what a 'Boehm Flute' looks like, and sounds like!  Presumably this refers to Boehm the keyed-woodwind instrument maker of the 19th c?  But he made flutes with conical bores, cylindrical bores, of metal AND wood, so that rather leaves the field open doesn't it!

Looking at the few photographs which we have in the file, the organ is certainly nothing special, but as its there and presumably all works, why not keep it?

DW

David Drinkell

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2013, 03:29:44 PM »
Rushworth's had one or two fancifully named flutes.  There was a Stowe Flute at Wilton PC, named after the example at Stowe School, and one sometimes finds a Flute Bouchee Harmonique (I've never sussed out how to do accents on this forum!).

It looks as though it might have started off as a residence organ, but one can never be sure in Christian Science churches, because the services feature solo singers and organs thus needed a good selection of soft soap - one might find Echo rather than Choir or Solo Organs in the larger churches.  I regret that I never got round to playing the Willis III (with Chimes and Vibraphone) at the CS Church in Belfast.  It's a classy building by Clough Williams Ellis and if the organ is up to the standard of similar Willis III jobs, it's probably worth playing.

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=C00294

Although CS churches tended to favour soupy music, American-style, they usually paid decent (American-style) salaries to organist and soloist.  The organist at Belfast for years was Evan John, who was something of a legend in the Music Department and Queen's University and who sued Kingsley Amis for parodying him in 'Lucky Jim'.


Julian

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2014, 04:30:29 PM »
I am a member of Godalming Christian Science Church and have just come across this thread. You are correct that the church is being demolished but a new church is being built on the site and I'm happy to tell you that the church members have every intention of moving the organ to the new building. We have designed the new building with this in mind and have taken professional advice on the suitability of having the organ moved.

I'm happy to answer any questions.

Julian

Ian van Deurne

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 12:54:56 PM »
Dear Julian

       Many thanks for the update on the organ in your church. It is good to see that the the pipe organ is regarded as important enough to move into a new building rather than taking the easy way out and replacing it with a pipeless, some people here describe as a "toaster", although I don't really understand why. I mean, toasters are generally useful, whereas pipeless organs aren't, except for home use when the organist refers to practise at home rather than having to trudge down to the church.
       It is also good to know that you have already sought professional advice on getting the organ moved. A pipe organ is a complex instrument and just leaving it all to amateurs could result in extra expenditure being incurred if something was to go wrong or gets broken.
       It would also be good to know how the organ will be situated in its new home. Will it still be just hidden behing a grille or are you thinking of providing a proper case for it?  Are you also considering making any tonal alterations which would fit better into the new arrangement?
       When I am residing in the UK I am not very far away from Godalming so if you would like to meet up perhaps we cold arrange to do so.

As regards the Boehm Flute, if I remember rightly it was just a normal overblowing harmonic flute, but whether it was either wood or metal I cannot say as I never had time to inspect the instrment internally. All I can remember about it was that everything worked and the sound was more than satisfactory.

So once again, a happy outcome!

Best Wishes to everyone from Ian.         

David Pinnegar

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 11:01:49 PM »
Hi!

What wonderful news this is!

During the decade of the 80s my late mother was Redundant Churches Furnishings Officer for Southwark, taking over from the then legendary Hilary Aggett. I used to make a significant input where appropriate on organ preservation and there was one instance where a church was developed into a smaller space within the building. The organ was endangered . . . and I suggested that the longest pipes could be truncated and bent sideways to take up less vertical space . . . and the organ was preserved successfully.

It will be a great pleasure to hear further news of the new church and the preservation of the instrument which will have resulted.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Ian van Deurne

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 01:42:15 PM »
Since last time I have spoken to members of Godalming Town Council and by what they've told me this matter is not by any means as straightforward as was first thoght.
Apparently, according to the plans submitted, the complete church building is to be demolished and replaced with luxury appartments, and by luxury, I mean in excess of 400,000 each.
The land earmarked for where the new church is to be built is much further away, in another less affluent part of the town. However, it is still in the early stages of debate in the council whether this plan will get the go-ahead or not. If this is the case, then it looks to me as if the future of the organ is by no means secure.
If I hear of anymore news, I will let you know.

Best Wishes - Ian.

Ian van Deurne

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2015, 12:22:54 PM »
I've just been by this place on Friday and the fences have gone up and it looks as if demolition will strat very shortly. As regards the organ I haven't heard anything more but will try to get informed

Regards Ian

Ian van Deurne

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 01:45:15 PM »
Greetings!
I'm now back in the UK again and have two things to report.
Firstly, the Christian Science Church in Godalming has of this week, been completely demolished. During the early part of last week I went to the site and looked through one of the portals. The "West End' of the church had been pulled down but leaving the organ chamber still there and open to the elements. I managed to attract the attention of one of the demolishers and asked him if any parts of the organ had become a victim  i.e. if there were any parts of an organ now lying amongst all the dust and debris.
"Dunno mate, don't know where the organ would have been." he replied.
"Well, it was in that chamber up there in front of us." I said.
"No, there wern't nothing in there at all, definately no organ pipes!" he told me.
So then it appears that he organ has been saved after all. The new church has planning permission to be built so presumably it is being stored somewhere for the time being.

Secondly, this concernes the Methodist Church in Woodbridge Road, Guildford.
It appears that over the course of the last few months this church has also now closed as the entrances ar boaded up and there's a 'For Sale' sign hanging outside.
The pipe organ if Imremember correctly was an early 2-Manual Mander, built on the extension principle ring the mid 150's which is when the church was built.
Whether the organ is still in residence I don't yet know but will try to find out.
The other URC Church in Portmouth Road contains a 3-Manual Hill, Norman & Beard Organ dating from c.1965 and is reported to be in very good condition. I performed a concert there during the late 1980's but haven't been back inside since.
Meanwhile I will try and find someone who was connected with the other church to see if they know what has happened to the Mander Organ.

Best Wishes
Ian   

revtonynewnham

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 10:07:06 AM »
Hi

The Methodist Church have organ advisors - I think you should be able to make comtact via the Methodist Music web site (or whatever the name of the organisation is).  Come back to me (e-mail prefered as I can then just forward it to my contact) if you can't find the relevant info, as I know one of their advisors who is located up North.  They're usually pretty good about trying to rehouse redundant organs.  Not totally sure about the URC situation, but again I may be able to find out.

Every Blessing

Tony

Ian van Deurne

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Re: Christian Science Church Godalming
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2016, 02:28:17 PM »
Hi!
Thank you Tony for the input.
Since yesterday I've found out a little more information about the Methodist Church in Guildford. My original thinking that it was constructed in the 1950's is incorrect, and the building actually dates from 1966, as does the organ.
However, the church has been closed since 1st September 2013 when the congregation merged with the congregation of the C/E church of St Mary, Quarry Street in the town centre.
Since I don't often travel past this way I hadn't realised this fact.
But there's another problem.
     On 19th May 2015 the church was accidentally damaged by a fire breaking out at the inside rear of the building, most likely from rubbish left there by squatters who had taken up residence. Fortunately the damage seemed to be slight.
     This ponders the question about what has happened to the organ. In light of this new information it would seem likely that it had already been removed and either broken up or re-homed. Let's hope the latter is correct.
      In the meantime I will try to gather some more information

Best Wishes,
Ian
 

 


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