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Possibly the last recording of Wolverhampton's Civic Hall Compton

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David Drinkell:
I don't know the instrument personally, but all the comments I've heard about it suggest that it's a very good Compton.  It sounds well worthy on the recording, and the Tuba comes over as particularly fine. 

Other YouTube recordings show it to be outstanding in theatre mode too.  Possibly, the thing that put off the Lottery people is that it isn't in its original condition.  There have been additions, and it originally had a Melotone unit which was removed at an early stage.  These changes may well have improved the instrument while being in keeping with its original style, but the Lottery folk can be queasy about alterations.

I hope they manage to keep it!

If it's down to alterations, just how many organs are left that havent been altered over the years at some stage? The civic's voicing is entirely original, which John Compton oversaw himself. The only alterations has been additional ranks, expansion of the specification, and the removal of the melotone by Arnold Richardson. If that's the lottery's way of thinking, then it's a wonder they give money to anything at all. I think partly the problem might be that it is part theatre organ and not strictly straight. However as you say, that does not distract from it's quality, only made it what it should have been from the start.

David Drinkell:
Here's another example.  Colchester Town Hall has an exceptional 1902 Norman & Beard three manual organ.  It was restored last year by Harrisons' with the aid of a Lottery grant.  As part of the work, the alterations made to the Choir Organ (and one to the Swell) in about 1973 were reversed, restoring the original specification.

The additions might not sway the Lottery too much, but I think the missing Melotone might.  I don't think the dual character of the organ would count against it - rather the opposite as it makes it a rarity (along with Southampton Guildhall and Bournemouth Pavilion by Compton and the Dome, Brighton by HN&B).

Given the high regard that those writing seem to have for this organ (I have not seen or heard it) the non availability of Lottery funding will be a disappointment.  Presumably the officials deciding on Lottery funding have expert advice available to them in order to make their decision.  Can we please be told which member of the Association of Independent Organ Advisers was used to provide advice on this occasion?


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