Author Archives: Goetze and Gwynn

  • Re-leathering relays on the Wurlitzer

    Most recently Chris and Rob have just returned from a week of maintenance on the famous Wurlitzer organ of the Thursford Collection in Norfolk, re-leathering the grey key relay secondary motors.

  • Two weeks in Geneva

    Then again at the end of March, we had two weeks in Claparède College in the suburbs of Geneva in Switzerland, the home of the former Granada Cinema, Clapham Junction, 3 manual 8 rank Wurlitzer organ from 1937

  • Theatre organ work

    So far 2022 has had quite a lot of theatre organ work, beginning in January with two weeks maintenance on the world famous 1935 Tower Ballroom Blackpool Wurlitzer organ. 

  • This year’s Christmas Card

    LATE 1890s 87 KEY GAVIOLI

    This organ was built in the 1890s and was housed in the three-abreast gallopers on the sea front at Mablethorpe Lincolnshire, owned at the time by the Gray family.  These instruments were built to represent a medium-sized orchestra, the main sounds being trombones, saxophones, violins, clarinets and piccolos.  The opulent decoration and the gaudy colours, like the interiors of the musical theatre and gin palaces, were designed to attract the newly-leisured lower classes, a mirror to the luxury of the rich.

    It was purchased in the 1960s in very poor condition and restored by former Chiappa employee M. Rooney.  Chiappa were Britain’s main importer and manufacturer of mechanical instruments throughout the 1800s and 1900s.  They are still trading today, making punched cardboard music from their works in Eyre St Hill, London.  The organ is now owned by the Bishton family of showmen, who still use the organ for its original purpose, which is to attract custom to their ‘old-time’ vintage fair.

    It has undergone major mechanical and pipe restoration in the Goetze & Gwynn workshop under the close eye of Stuart Dobbs whose background and interest is in this type of instrument.

  • Access to the pallet box at Lillington

    The organ had been moved to the church by John Budgen in 1998, against the wall, so the lower half of the organ had to be moved out for access, and back again to connect with the blower. 

  • Corrosion in the Lillington organ’s pallet box

    Why some yellow pine seems to be so corrosive, and others not, is from the user’s point of view a mystery.  Presumably ‘yellow pine’ from North America, as bought from the timber merchant, is a generic term for many varieties, some corrosive, most not.

  • Lillington corroded pallet spring

    The organ at Lillington near Sherborne in Dorset was made by T.C.Bates in about 1840.  It is a four stop organ, with swell front and short pedalboard, but most ingeniously a drop-down dumb organist to replace the human one, the barrel playing the keys.  The reason for the ciphers was the corrosion of the pallet springs, which had in places completely disappeared, presumably because of corrosive agents in the yellow pine pallets.

  • Thomas Mace organ as far as it has got…

    A picture of Edward’s great nephew Oscar Bennett with the wind chest and the pipes (racked in by Oscar).  Unfortunately the project has stalled, until more funding is forthcoming and a stimulus towards a different home than the flying music room, which may not now happen.

  • Tracker offcut Christmas trees

    Christmas encourages creativity – an abundance of offcuts from the trackers for the Peter Conacher organ at Merthyr Tydfil stimulated another set of coloured Christmas trees

  • Swan Singers with the Wingfield Organ

    At the beginning of December the traditional crib festival was held at St Cuthberts Wells (200 model cribs of varying materials and styles from round the world) with music provided by a wide variety of musicians, including a Wells chamber choir (including Antonia Gwynn and for this occasion Dominic) and with music from the Wingfield organ played by Julian McNamara and blown by choir members

  • Margaret Phillips plays Art of Fugue

    On Thursday November 25th at 6.00pm Margaret Phillips will play movements of J.S.Bach’s Art of Fugue on the Richards Fowkes organ at St George’s Hanover Square, to launch her new CD.  It is an excellent organ for the music, and Margaret’s playing reveals its inspiration. 

  • Concert at St Peter Pilning

    On November 6th members of Ystradivarius, see, gave a lovely concert of baroque music with the William Allen chamber organ, with John Cheer playing the organ in Handel Organ concertos and Stanley voluntaries.  David Lewis violin played a Leclair sonata, and Claudine Cassidy cello played a capriccio by Joseph dall’Abaco.  Thanks to Jonathan and Sharon Edwardes for organising a delightful occasion.  The Allen organ looked and sounded wonderful.

  • Richard Hobson’s Russell chamber organ

    Dominic has helped Richard Hobson to collect the 1786 Hugh Russell chamber organ which he bought from Sotheby’s recently.  The organ has recently belonged to two collectors, and was probably in the church at Patney in Wiltshire before that.  It was repaired by organ builders in Devizes in 1909, an organ builder in Bath in 1863, and by Holdich at some point (it uses his bellows weights).  It was restored by Manders recently, with a new Hautboy treble replacing the missing one.  The stops are fifteenth, principal, bass and treble diapason, hautboy, dulciana, the compass is GG AA C D – f³ (bass treble bº/c¹).  Its condition is almost unaltered, a lovely little organ.

  • Flute organ interior

    Henry has written an article about the Flute Organ for the summer 2020 edition of The Musical Box (the journal of the Musical Box Society of Great Britain  

  • Henry Bennett’s flute organ

    Henry has recorded Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu on the flute organ which we restored last year:

  • Continuing installation at Theatr Soar Merthyr Tydfil

    We have been installing the mechanism in the 1893 Peter Conacher organ.  The wind system has two reservoirs and is powered by hand, water engine (restored by James Richardson Jones) or electric blower.  The pneumatic Pedal key action, supplied in 1938 with two extra stops, has been replaced with a new mechanical key action copied from Conacher models.  The organ only has 20 stops, but is generously laid out over four ‘storeys’, the wind system in the basement, the console and mechanism on the ground floor, the Great on the first floor and the Swell on the second floor.

  • Inter-manual couplers

    One of the faults was in the inter-manual coupler, which could not be adjusted.  The keys are Hill 1858, and rely on a saw cut which leaves a piece of short grain to provide a spring against which the adjustment screw pushes, which is now often broken.   

  • Sloping organist’s bench

    I have never seen an organist’s bench with the seat sloping forwards, not surely an advantage