Author Archives: Goetze and Gwynn

  • 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

  • Repairs to St Andrew Undershaft

    Dominic and Edward’s great nephew Oscar Bennett carried out two weeks of repairs to the organ at St Andrew Undershaft.  It is an organ by William Hill 1858 and 1875, using earlier pipework and case by Renatus Harris 1696 and Byfield 1749, and with additions and alterations by Speechley in 1889 (Swell organ), Walker 1926 (blower) and Rushworth and Dreaper 1976 (Swell and Pedal key actions).  It is a grand old lady, now in its dotage, but still playable.  Our job was to correct as many of the faults as possible.  The Great Open Diapason slider end had broken.  The 1976 Pedal key actions had floating square beams, with enough broken trackers to make sure that the others ciphered.  And almost all the pipes speak now.

  • Edward’s new bike!

    Edward’s colleagues bought him a fold-up bicycle, so that he can pop it in the car and explore the country

  • Edward has retired on his birhday!

    Edward Bennett finally retired from full time organ building on August 13th, and his colleagues, friends and the craftspeople of the other Harley Foundation workshops assembled to celebrate his tremendous contribution to the art and craft of organ building, and to the four decades of instruments produced by G&G at Welbeck.  Edward was 73 on August 18th, and Dominic 68, and we met on Dominic’s first day organ building in Northampton, 46 years ago.  One of the rewards of organ building is that its products exist to be admired and appreciated, and Edward retires with justifiable pride in 52 years of work, conscientiously and beautifully done.

  • Collecting the Snetzler chamber organ from Birmingham University

    In the autumn we will be doing some restoration work on the 1755 Snetzler chamber organ now in the Barber Institute at Birmingham University.  It is an almost unaltered example of his work.  The only alteration was to replace the keys (by T.R.Willis of The Minories on the eastern edge of the City of London).  These very short keys had obviously given trouble, and had been altered by Manders when the organ was sold to the Barber Institute in 1956, possibly doing more harm than good.  We will be making new keys in the style of the original, with ebony covered naturals and Snetzler’s characteristic sharps, ebonised fruitwood with a covering of ivory.  We will also put rollers under the organ, instead of the very effective and amazingly ugly wheels.

  • Pipe repairs on the organ at Merthyr Tydfil

    A front pipe in need of repair from the 1890 Peter Conacher Organ at Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil. Joe Marsden will repair damage to the zinc front pipe that has been folded over the tuning window in the next few posts.

  • Edward making the keys for the Thomas Mace table organ

    Edward has been making the keys for the Thomas Mace table organ.  They can be longer than the keys usually are for the chamber organs of the period, but the dimensions and the decorative overlay is based on those, like the anonymous ca1675 chamber organ now at Canons Ashby.