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Messages - Barrie Davis

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Organs in danger / Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« on: December 21, 2010, 03:17:19 PM »

Or maybe the CofE could allow a bit of RC-style democracy, make the parish churches the property and responsibility of the parishes, thus relieving itself of the burden... I'm sure that could save some money.

I really must agree with you there, we are paying in the region of 65k a year to Worcester, this being on top of all the normal expenses of the parish. For a dwindling aging congregation of some 160 spread between 3 churches this amount is impossible. What does it pay for? Surely 2 clergy doesnt equal that amount?

The organ needs the Swell and Positif actions releathered and the action put onto solid state but I'm afraid this is very much a dream. The organ tuners battle with missing notes but it is now reaching a stage where little or no more work can be done.

Organs in danger / Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« on: December 21, 2010, 12:59:28 AM »
Your reply is very fine and its all very good to make suggestions but it all boils down to available cash. My church cannot afford to pay its quota let alone consider embarking on an organ scheme. Vat is increasing, inflation will be as well..........


Thank you for the reply Tony  you are so very right.

Not far from where I live is a very large Catholic church which has in its west gallery a N&B circa 1906, Ped 1 Gt 4 Sw 5 nothing above 4ft on the manuals. This literally fills the building.

So why do we need to enlarge instruments which fulfill the needs of the church? I know the organist would lobe this and that added but luckily this has been opposed.


Organs in danger / Re: Bad News in the West Midlands
« on: November 27, 2010, 01:35:43 AM »
Some more for the "pot".

Akerill Methodist Smethwick

2 manual Bishop rebuilt Sheffield. Church closed fate of the organ unknown.

St Matthews Smethwick

2 manual Nicholson and Lord rebuilt Sheffield, bad water damage from a leaking roof the insurance company will not fund the organs repair. The cost being way beyond the parish.

Central Methodist West Bromwich

3 manual Sheffield again water damage, console and pipework removed replaced by a Rodgers.


Organs in danger / Re: Bad News in the West Midlands
« on: November 24, 2010, 06:20:08 PM »
Yet another one this time in Shropshire, St Michaels Madeley, 2 manual Nicholson and Lord rebuilt by Fisk, it was situated in a Gallery over the south choir stalls. The pneumatics on the pedal organ became unreliable and they also needed the console to be nearer to other musicians. They obtained the advice of Dr Massey and obtained a faculty for a digital instrument but it was clearly stated that the pipeorgan should remain intact and not be removed. Needless to say 10 years on the organ has disappeared. Do legalities in the C of E not count it seems not.
I was organist of this church in the 1960s and followed by the late Ron Poole, who was a member of this board. It was quite a pleasing 2 manual very typical of N & L.


Organs in danger / Bad News in the West Midlands
« on: October 28, 2010, 02:40:37 PM »
I have recently been informed about some organs under threat in the West Midlands.

St Michaels and All Angels Langley.

3 manual Nicholson, tracker action, with some electrification to give the Oboe at 16 and 8. The church was made redundant 2 years ago and closed, the organ remained in situ a few weeks ago the church was vandalised, luckily they only had time to remove the Choir pipework. The Great and Swell has now been safely saved and stored.

Christchurch Summerfield Birmingham.

3 manual Nicholson, tracker action. The organ is now mothballed pending replacement with a digital with midi facilities. The cost of restoring this instrument being far too expensive for the parish.

St Lukes Cradley Heath

3 manual Compton extension organ. The wiring has perished being cotton covered making the organ basically unplayable. Again the parish cannot afford to have any work carried out and have bought a Yamaha keyboard.

Holy Trinity Old Hill

3 manual Brindley and Foster/Nelson/Lloyd. Tonally this organ is superb but very badly restored in the 80s. The action is diabolical and the soundboards are in poor condition. The church is starting a reordering scheme and it is highly unlikely that the organ will remain.

Im getting depressed so will not add more, I may do later.


Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Redundant churches in the C of E
« on: October 27, 2010, 03:32:13 PM »
Yes I agree, one of best combinations on it is the Unda Maris and Dolce on the choir. Sam Baker often used to add the 16 and 8 chorus reeds on the Solo to the Swell to reinforce the sound, this was magical in his psalm accompaniements, but Sam really was magical.

Organs on eBay or for urgent sale / Re: Cassons Positive pipe organ
« on: October 25, 2010, 06:54:20 PM »
They are good little instruments, this was how one was improved a few years ago

Best wishes


Organs in danger / Re: "Crystal Cathedral" declaring bankruptcy
« on: October 22, 2010, 12:54:13 AM »

How much of it was digital? I understood that parts were.

Best wishes


Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: A green idea
« on: October 19, 2010, 03:37:06 PM »
I regret  that many of Elvins books are now only available at very high prices, I have always wanted a copy of the Harrison Story and the history of organ blowing, but finances wont run to obtaining copies.


Miscellaneous & Suggestions / A green idea
« on: October 18, 2010, 01:08:59 AM »
Many years ago I was travelling from Ludlow to Richards Castle and visited the church. The organ was then situated at the West End, the organist was there and demonstrated the instrument for me. I then noticed a large handle in the floor close to the console. The organist explained that the organ could be water blown and the mechanism still worked, he demonstrated this. It was a lot quieter and cheaper than the electric blower, but the down side was in the summer months the water supply dwindled and there was not enough to turn the wheel generating the wind. This is a good idea, but not very practical.

I cant see how to add items but the first Sunday of every month;

Holy Trinity Wordsley 3pm
Organ Recita by Paul Carr

Miscellaneous & Suggestions / Re: Some of my designs
« on: October 09, 2010, 12:58:33 AM »
Well done, these were so good to see. You mentioned the Compton in Birmingham, I used to help tune this with Jack Ivey, it was an impressive instrument, what was the fate of it?

Organ building and maintenance / Re: KA 64 note switches
« on: September 27, 2010, 01:38:29 AM »
When the couplers on the organ I play get tempermental my organ builder has told me to pull the drawstop in and out several times and this cleans the contacts. The big reed on this organ is extended and pressing a key repeatedly will cure the problem.


Electronic Organs / Re: Experiences of some recent digital organs
« on: September 26, 2010, 12:44:28 AM »

I have just spent 2 weeks playing a Makin in a Crem and to be honest it left me cold. It is a 3 manual Monarche with quite a reasonable stoplist,  but Oh Dear do Makins bother to regulate to the buildings? I have found this so often with their organs, a prize example is St Michaels Brierley Hill.

The 32 Flues make no impact, if indeed you can hear them, there are missing notes, bad regulation, I have to admit several other builders leave this firm standing ie Rodgers in Worcester cathedral but may be thats the acoustics.


Sixsmiths do hybrids so that may be an option, I think they use or used the Bradford system

Organ building and maintenance / Re: The composition of a Sesquialtera
« on: September 24, 2010, 01:26:38 AM »

Yes it is 12:17

Harrisons and Walkers made 17:19;22 bu t to my mind these didnt work


Interesting instruments near nice places for a holiday / Re: My List
« on: September 23, 2010, 01:06:15 AM »

St Michaels Tenbury (4man Willis)
Worcester Cathedral (4man Tickell)
Ludlow Parish Church (4man Walker/Nicholson)
The Abbey Shrewsbury (3man Hill)
St Marys Shrewsbury (4 man Binns)
St Michaels Handsworth (3 man Norman and Beard untouched)
St John Wolverhampton (Varying History last rebuilt Tipple)
Holy Trinity Wordsley (3 man Bevington rebuilt Sheffield improved by Tipple)

I will add more later

Best wishes


Yes it should be added to NPOR.

The problem with enclosing pipework that has been voiced as unenclosed is that it rarely work as it has been boldly voiced, this is why you say its loud!! There is no magic about stops appearing on the pedals these are transmitted by relays or solid state depending on the age of the instrument.
Sixsmiths are very approachable and will answer any questions you ask. They may even have a suitable soundboard and pipework in stock for you.

There are several organ builders on this forum who may be able to offer you guidance


I was organist at Quinton Parish Church which had a 3 manual Compton Cinema Organ, when the church was reordered it was bought by some enthusiasts from Somerset and that was the last I heard of it. If you used it with caution it was fine for the litturgy and many a Bride has gone out to the ringing tubular bells!!!

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