The Organ Restoration
Although the Organ restoration was not finished in time for Easter, a lot of work was going on behind the scenes in the organ loft, where Andrew was fitting all the new wiring inside the case complete with a new processor ready for the organ console to be returned. Paines’ Electricians installed new cabling for the mains supply to the blower under the porch as well as connecting the 12 volt computer cabling from the organ-loft to the blower and the console.They also installed new lighting to illuminate the front pipes of the organ-case.
After Easter there was rapid progress. The missing carving of the Cherub was replaced on the right-hand Tower. All 600 of the re-voiced pipes were returned to the Church from the Voicer’s workshop including the Great 4ft and 2ft, all the Trumpets and the Swell Mixture. On Monday April 29th. the restored organ console arrived back from Brownes’ workshop. The console has been beautifully restored with new beech facings for the Pedal-board sharps & flats, 3 new couplers, all new stop tab switches, and 10 new pistons (the buttons used to turn on a combination of stops) which are now all individually programmable with a solid state memory with 100 channels plus 4 settings for the new Crescendo pedal. The Swell expression pedal mechanism has been completely renewed.
On 6thMay the organ builders – Malcolm, Matt & their apprentice Charlie – started putting all the pipes back into the case, checking for air leaks, installing the new motor for the swell-box shutters, connecting the console cabling and testing to make sure all the stops and keys worked when selected. The console was fitted with a processor which connects by a simple computer cable to the other processor inside the organ-loft, which is then connected to every pipe in the organ. They got the blower running to fill the bellows with air to test the system and the first few notes were heard in four months.
By 10thMay all the pipes were back inside the organ-case and the tuning started. This took nearly 4 days working from 8.30 in the morning till mid-evening every night and was finally completed by the evening of May 15th. when the last “case-pipes” or the pipes you see on the outside of the case were replaced. The Gilder arrived on May 13thto re-do the lettering of the Memorial Inscription and although he worked right through the day until after 8pm he didn’t quite complete it and had to return on May 16thto add the finishing touches.
On the morning of 16thMay the organ was fully operational, ready to be used for the wedding on May 18th. The scaffolding was finally taken down on the morning of May 17th. to reveal the cleaned and restored organ with the case illuminated and the lettering on the memorial tablet which commemorates Lord Blanesburgh’s brothers and nephews clearly visible.
This has been a very comprehensive restoration of the 1931 Walker organ and we expect it to remain in good order for at least another fifty or sixty years. The Friends are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported the project and we hope that everyone will enjoy hearing it again in services and with the console now on a mobile platform it is now suitable to be used for concerts in Church and in the Arts Festival.