Author Topic: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)  (Read 10705 times)

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diapason

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Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« on: February 24, 2015, 01:26:29 PM »
Does anyone know whether any of the records of this company have survived?  I'd like to see if they have any records of work done on my house organ.  I'd also like to find a genuine nameplate  to go on the console.

David Drinkell

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 02:42:55 PM »
Try contacting John Bailey, manager at Bishop & Son, 38 Bolton Lane, Ipswich IP4 2B8, 01473 255165.  He was trained at G, D & B and was manager in the firm's final years.

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 12:53:00 PM »
Many thanks, David.  I spoke to John today and he remembered something about my organ which he was involved with some years ago.  He doesn't have any records, but thought that Matthew Copley (now Edward Dove) may know the whereabouts of some records of GDB and A.E. Davies.  John also passed some old records to BIOS, so I'll contact them too.

revtonynewnham

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 02:26:20 PM »
Hi

There's a listing of their work in Maurice Forsyth-Grant's book too.  Let me know where the organ originated, or opus number or some other means of identifying it & I'll take a look & see what that has to say.

Every Blessing

Tony

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2015, 11:24:05 AM »
Many thanks, Tony.

It was originally build by Aeolian in the 1920s for a Mr Ainslie (Aynslie) in Bridgenorth, Salop.  It was bought after the war by a Ronald Colborne from West Drayton, who later moved, with the organ, to Newport, South Wales.  Mr Colborne had the organ rebuilt by A.E. Davies/GDB, possibly on more than one occasion.  The console was completely rebuilt, using the casing from the original Aeolian. John Bailey at Bishop's thinks that it is a Davies console.  He was involved at some point in work on the organ.  A new Gemshorn rank was added by GDB (actually GD & Rippin at that time), and John Bailey remembers that this rank was made by an apprentice - it's not of brilliant quality.  Roger Taylor replaced the chest magnets in the 80s and Mr Colborne sold/gave the organ to John Scott Whiteley around 1994.  Geoffrey Coffin (Principal Pipe Organs) moved it to York for JSW and later moved it again to Everingham when JSW retired from York Minster.  Geoffrey Coffin removed the case as it was in poor condition (JSW later regretted this.)  He also removed the swell box, leaving the organ unenclosed.  JSW didn't have room for the Dulciana bottom two octaves and these were removed and stored by Geoffrey Coffin and later used in another organ.  I bought the organ from JSW in 2011 and moved it to Somerset.  I have recently moved house and am rebuilding it again.

I would dearly love to find out exactly what work Davies and GDB did on it.  I have located a copy of Maurice Forsyth-Grant's book on Amazon , but it costs nearly 50, so i can't afford it at the moment.  If you can see any reference to my organ, i would be very grateful.
I sent the details of the organ to NPOR in 2012, but it has still not appeared - when it does, I'll need to change the address!

Many thanks for your help,

Nigel

David Drinkell

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2015, 06:16:24 PM »
I have MF-G's book, but I don't see a mention of your organ in it.

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2015, 09:55:12 AM »
Thanks for checking, David.

Nigel

revtonynewnham

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2015, 10:56:29 AM »
Hi

By the time Davies had taken on the GDB firm (in effect if not legally) MF-G had pulled out, so there's really very little in the book about that era, so probably not worth buying for that alone.  I bought my copy a good few years ago now, and it didn't cost anything like 50 - if it had, I'd have left it on the bookseller's shelf!

Every Blessing

Tony
P.S.  Not sure why your NPOR update hasn't appeared yet.  Due to moving & other circumstances, I've not been able to do much on NPOR for quite a while.

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2015, 03:43:49 PM »
Many thanks, Tony.
I've written to BIOS and to several other people and have managed to find out a little more.  Still some gaps, which I hope to fill in time eg - Who was Mr Ainslie from Bridgnorth (the original owner), what was his connection to the Aeolian company and when did he sell the organ to Ronald Colborne?
Regards,
Nigel

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 12:40:39 PM »
I've had some more information come in, and it looks like the builder who rebuilt the organ into its present state - sometime in the mid-late 60s - was Alfred E. Davies/ Jack Davies who shared his workshop in Northampton with GDB.  Some of the pipework was definitely made by GDB.

Does anyone know whether any of Davies' records have survived?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 03:05:39 PM by diapason »

David Drinkell

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2015, 05:24:03 PM »
Given the pedigree of the instrument, it would seem logical that Davies, rather than GD&B, would have worked on it.  The original Davies, after all, was responsible for Aeolian installations throughout the country, although I think he was trained by Willis.

Maurice Grant, in his book, was adamant that GD&B would continue on their own paths, merely sharing work-space with Davies, whose instruments concepts were vastly different.  I don't know what eventually happened....

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2015, 06:50:53 PM »
Thanks.  I had a 'phone call today from someone who knew a previous owner and confirmed that the organ was built by Davies, using Aeolian parts. Davies sold the organ to him in the late 60's (?).  This may have been Jack Davies.  I've traced some of Davies' records to the Cadbury Library in Birmingham and hope to get up there before Easter.

My remaining gap is really from the original Aeolian in the 1920s and the first owner, a Mr Ainslie (Aynslie?)who was, I believe, somehow connected to the Aeolian company.

N

revtonynewnham

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2015, 09:11:10 AM »
Hi

That explains why it's not on the GDB list.  It's been a while since I read the book, but my impression is that Davis took a stp backwards with the GDB ideals - there are a handful of interesting small extension organs built in  the last years (e.g.  IIRC Southwell Cathedral Song  School - stop list on NPOR, and I have played it), and an attempt at standardised 2mp organs - there's one just down the road from here at Dunchurch which I plan to visit when I get an opportunity.

I suspect that MF-G's departure in effect sounded the death-knell of the company.

Every Blessing

Tony

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 09:42:36 AM »
Many thanks, again.

This is a very gently voiced organ - the Aeolian Dulciana and Gedackt are beautiful.  The Gemshorn rank - which John Bailey told me was made by an apprentice at GDB - is less good, and some of the upperwork (including a 1' on each manual) - again, I think GDB - is a bit too shrill in a small room.  I'm going to ask my tuner if he can improve the Gemshorn.  I also want to replace the bottom two octaves of the Dulciana which will give me a nice quiet 16'.  This pipework was removed in the 1990s by Geoffrey Coffin as there was not room for it in the room.  It has, unfortunately, been lost.

I plan to go up to the Cadbury Library when I can and look at the boxes of Davies paperwork.

Nigel

Trevordavies

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2015, 10:38:28 PM »
As Alfred Davies' grandson, I was interested to see your thread, which you almost posted on his birthday! (25 February). As you may know he started the firm when the Aeolian company folded, as he had been in charge of the organ section. Presumably they continued in the same premises but I do not know for sure. They moved to Northampton during the war and my father jack joined the firm when he was demobbed. I remember the collaboration with Forsyth Grant being established in the 60's when A E Davies took over the tuning work for GDB. My father and Maurice FG emailed firm friends up to Maurice's death. I do not have much in the way of records as I think we sent everything off to some august body when my father died. There was an Ainslee trust which played a role in keeping the firm afloat in the 50's I believe. Jack Davies pioneered the combination of electronics and pipes: I have a set of LP's which he made as a demonstration of the capabilities of this new direction. A bit of a ramble I'm afraid which does not directly address your enquiries! Good luck with the rebuild, I'd love to see it when its done.

revtonynewnham

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2015, 09:05:56 AM »
Hi

Interesting.  Compton were actually the first to combine pipes & electronics with their Melotone addition to their theatre organs, but as far as I know, they only built one hybrid church organ.  I've heard of the ones you mention - they were advertised in "The Organ" IIRC.  I'd be interested in any information you may have on them, and copies of the demo recordings if that's possible.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Drinkell

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2015, 05:24:50 PM »
Compton did two hybrids, in the sense that the basses were produced electronically: Church House, Westminster, which had a very short life before being destroyed in the Blitz, and the Methodist Central Hall, Great Yarmouth.  The latter lasted a long time and had its electronics updated.  I believe it went to the Mechanical Music Museum at Cotton in Suffolk.

David Drinkell

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2015, 05:45:18 PM »
I think the heyday of GDB ended when they had to move from their Hammersmith premises to Northampton.  Few of the skilled staff were prepared to leave London.  Then Maurice Grant moved to Wales and the firm thereafter did very little.

Regarding the model two-manual organs, there were two in Northern Ireland, absolutely identical in all but sound.  That in the Harty Room, Queen's University, Belfast, was finished by Hendrik ten Bruggencate and was a lively, even aggressive presence in a relatively small room.  That at the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy, Lurgan, was finished by Chris Gordon-Wells of the excellent local firm Wells-Kennedy and was altogether more gentle, besides being in the west gallery of a large church.  The Lurgan organ was removed some years ago and I don't know what happened to it.  The Harty Room organ is still there, although there have, I believe, been alterations to the room since I lived in Belfast. 

Before setting up Wells-Kennedy, Chris Wells was the local rep for Davies, which may or may not have had a bearing on his finishing work at the Harty Room.  Davies was one of the few firms which managed to maintain a permanent presence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.  The other was Charlie Smethurst of Manchester, who liked the place so much that he retired to Belfast.  He was trained as a console hand by Harrisons' so his organs tended to be nice to play but lumpy to listen to.  His big three-manual at Knock Methodist Church, Belfast was refinished by Wells-Kennedy a few years before I left Belfast and the difference was amazing!

revtonynewnham

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2015, 08:14:39 AM »
Hi

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N06322 shows that the Yarmouth Compton had a completely electronic department, not just basses, and so it was  true hybrid organ built 1927.  I don't have any details of the Westminster instrument to hand.

Another early use of electronics for basses was the HNB/Christie (NPOR N08247) in the Dome,  Brighton.

However, AFAIK, Compton & Davis were the earliest firms building hybrid organs (i.e. with electronics used as part or all of a department as opposed to simply adding pedal stops.

Asto the GDB "Model" organs, I think there's one just down the road from me here in Dunchurch PC - I'm hoping to find an opportunity to visit sometime soon.

Every Blessing

Tony

diapason

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Re: Grant, Degens & Rippin (Bradbeer)
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2015, 01:21:05 PM »
Many thanks for this new information - especially good to hear from Trevor.  I would dearly like to find an original Davies builder's plate to fix to the console!  Interestingly, my organ did have an additional electronic pedal stop, but it was removed by Geoffrey Coffin when the organ was sold to John Scott Whiteley in the 1990s.

Trevor, you are welcome to see the organ when I finish rebuilding it.  I'm in West Somerset.

Nigel

 


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