Author Archives: Goetze and Gwynn

  • Theatr Soar the swell box in position

    To convert the chapel into a performing space with the dance studio below, the floor has been inserted at gallery level, at about the height of the Great wind chest.

  • Theatr Soar lifting the Swell wind chest

    The Swell wind chest being brought to the top floor by Edward, Joe and Chris (and Dominic taking the picture) before being man-handled onto the support structure

  • Theatr Soar bellows in position

    The 1893 Peter Conacher organ was built over four levels, the bellows below the console, the mechanism to the Great wind chest, the Great chest and pipes, and the Swell chest, pipes and box above. 

  • Wynnstay organ: Art and Stuff

    I was reading the Art Fund quarterly magazine, and a picture of the Wynnstay organ in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff caught my eye.  It led me on to an Art Fund podcast:  It has to be said that you don’t hear the organ much (Andrew Willson Dickson) with snatches of Thomas Chilcot, and the commentary is not quite as factually reliable as it should be, but the variety of reactions to this lovely organ is fascinating.

  • Edward working on the Swell Windchest

    Edward working on the Swell Windchest on the restoration of 1890 Peter Conacher organ at Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil. He is burning through the glue soaked cotton tape inside each individual wind bar, this is done to ensure structural integrity and minimise the chances of future runnings.

  • Trinity College Dublin Chair case replacement carved panels

    The metal sheet behind the tower pipe shades had also been used to disguise missing carved panels.  Nick copied the surviving originals.  He did similar repairs to the frieze carving on the plinth, made new carvings in the same style for the sides, and gilded them.

  • Trinity College Dublin Chair case tower cap pre-restoration

    The Chair case was made in 1705, also of pine.  This picture shows the dark brown paint applied after 1945, and the chocolate paint covering the front pipes.  The gilding was applied to honour an honorary fellowship awarded to the King of Spain in 1981.

  • Trinity College Dublin Chair case new side and back panels and frames

    A view of the Chair organ from the Great wind chest, showing the case without the tower caps and roofs.  The front had survived as a screen, fortunately with enough evidence at the corners to show what the side panels looked like.  When the organ was moved to the Public Theatre in the 1790s the Chair organ was placed behind the gallery railing, almost as if the move was temporary.  It now projects through the rail, as it should, supported on hefty beams supplied in the 1790s.  Apart from these and the damaged front, the Chair case is all Nick’s work.

  • Trinity College Dublin Great case new return panels and mouldings

    Much of the top case was intact, though it still needed a new back frame, new roofs and  return panels to the towers and new mouldings, where the originals had been removed in 1839.  Not surprisingly, putting all this back helped to stabilize the case.  In this picture the front frame still has its post-War paint and gilding. 

  • Trinity College Dublin fitting the case panels and mouldings

    The 1684 case was constructed in a way that meant it could only be re-assembled completely on site, with some of the mouldings added after assembly of the panel frames, etc.  It had also been nailed and patched over the centuries to such an extent that almost every joint and edge had had to be strengthened and neatened with new wood.  The original cases were made of pine.  Fortunately the whole case had been painted repeatedly.  It now has the colour of the 1705 casework, applied by Charles and Liz Marsden, here being touched up by Nick.

  • Trinity College Dublin side view

    Trinity College Dublin side view with restored Great case side panels and new Chair and Pedal case side panels

  • Trinity College Dublin Great upper case during installation

    It is difficult to show in photographs the ingenuity of Nick’s solutions to the problems.  In this photograph one can see that the impost is now straight, upright and secure, though it still carries the same heavy weight.  There is still a separate support structure, to which all the old parts of the case are fixed, as well as carrying the wind chests and mechanism.  The new organ was based on the c1704 Harris organ at St Botolph Aldgate, one of the earliest to have a support structure separate from the casework.  As organ builders gradually discovered there are advantages to managing the project if the mechanism can be assembled separately from the casework.

  • Trinity College Dublin Great upper case before restoration

    The 1684 Great case and the 1705 Chair case were in appalling condition when we took the organ to pieces.  The Great case was top-heavy, and what internal stability there may have been had been removed when Telford introduced a new organ with its own support structure in 1839.  The cases had been taken to pieces, moved, and ‘repaired’ two or three times.  The Chair case had lost its organ and the roof, sides and back in 1839, so that the front was just a screen.  The Great impost had to take the weight of some very heavy pipework without much support inside, and was twisting and sagging, to the point where the front pipes were falling out from behind the pipe shades.

  • David Hindle’s Snetzler bureau organ case keyboard surround

    The upright front rail below the keys is original, with a battered but original finish.  Nick made the flat keyboard surround and stop jambs at the sides to match it and the rest of the case.  The mouldings had all been lost, and had to be reconstructed from surviving Snetzler cases.   

  • David Hindle’s Snetzler bureau organ case during polishing

    The finished case with its side panels.  The lower case sides had original panels, but had lost their veneers.  The undecorated back panel was original, but the top case sides were made from the ca1810 alterations.  The doors were new, with dummy front pipes made out of the ca1810 dummy front.  There is nothing like these doors in English organ building so they are a plausible design.  Nick’s veneers, polishing and the shaping and gilding of the front pipes contributed to the authentic feel of the case.  We were all delighted with the finished organ.

  • David Hindle’s Snetzler bureau organ case pre-restoration

    The challenging projects are not always the larger ones.  This organ had started off as a 1754 Snetzler bureau organ, with Snetzler’s usual hand-written label chopped out of the back of the pallet box and mounted.  It had been rebuilt a couple of times, including once by a harmonium builder who provided a free-reed pedal.  It was a mess in other words, with a lot of Snetzler’s work surviving.  Nick reconstructed the case, re-using the surviving original panels, etc.   There was a veneered lower case front panel which was probably introduced in about 1810 but matched the surviving front surfaces from 1754.  It provided a model for the veneered decoration of the sides.  The longest wooden Stop Diapason pipes gave the height of the case, and account for its form, unusual amongst Snetzler’s organs (the only other surviving is now in the 1742 organ now in the Belle Skinner Collection at Yale University).

  • Georgian Chamber organ tower mouldings being turned

    In 2012 we made a new large chamber organ in the style of mid-18th century England, for the music room of a private customer.  It was a wonderful project altogether.  Nick made most of the beautiful case, including the round mouldings to the tower caps, seen here using Phil Neal’s lathe.

  • Working on Odiham’s case

    Nick working on the Odiham case front during staying, edging the case on the spindle moulder and fitting the silvered brass stop labels to the jambs..