Author Archives: Goetze and Gwynn

  • 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. 

  • Silas and Dominic with the Italian chamber organ and a chest organ by Walter Chinaglia

    The recording is of Italian music for cornett and organ, using our chamber organ (based on a ca1700 Italian chamber organ which we restored for Sheila Lawrence) and an extended chest organ with wooden pipes (an ‘organo di legno) by Walter Chinaglia.  Gawain Glenton is playing the cornett and Silas Woolston the organs. 

    Silas and Dominic with the Italian chamber organ and a chest organ by Walter Chinaglia

  • Silas Wollston playing the Italian chamber organ with cornett player Gawain Glenton controlling stops for a recording at St Saviour Hampstead

    Our Italian chamber organ has been used for a recording by Delphian Records https://www.delphianrecords.com/ in St Saviour Hampstead, thanks to the Rev Paul Nicholson.  You can read about the project on http://www.gawainglenton.com/ and contribute to it on https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/labrillantina

    Silas Wollston playing the Italian chamber organ with cornett player Gawain Glenton controlling stops for a recording at St Saviour Hampstead

  • The Pilcher chamber organ in position

    The organ is in a large practice room overlooking the Thames.  The intriguing arrangement of wires making up the front was a solution by Edward and his brother Henry.  The pins in the frame would originally have held pleated silk, in the form of a sunburst.

  • Moving a ca1830 Pilcher chamber organ to the City of London School

    We moved a ca1830 William Pilcher chamber organ to the City of London School.  It used to belong to Edward, and has been bought by Justin Berg, an American musician and musicologist.  His plans for it have been put on hold, so it has spent a few months in St Peter Vauxhall while we were restoring the Lewis organ there, and has now been loaned to the City of London School.  It is a delightful house organ by a little known organ builder.  Pilcher was also known as a piano maker, and this organ has a keyboard which was originally intended for a piano, which may partly account for its five octave compass.  The keyboard is hinged and folds up when not in use.

  • Wurlitzer at Saltaire 2

    After our workshop restoration of the actions and business end, we installed the huge Nicholson made resonators.

  • Wurlitzer at Saltaire

    Coming out of lock down and seeing venues look towards re-opening, and looking forward to being  able to attend concerts again, has reminded me to share some pictures of some resent work we have done for the Cinema Organ Society (COS), on their Northern District organ installed at Victoria Hall, in the lovely Yorkshire town of Saltaire.  This fine Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ is much traveled, and in the course of it’s five homes slightly enlarged, but also, unfortunately, slightly reduced! At some time in the past the lowest four resonators of the 16’ Wood Diaphone pipes were destroyed, so replacements had to be made, whilst they were good in themselves, they were the wrong scale, by a significant margin. So, at the behest of the COS, and in conjunction with Nicholsons & co. a plan was made to replace these mammoth pipes, with larger pipes of the correct scale, and restore the beaters and actions upon which they sit.

    The first picture shows the vibrator units and chests as delivered to the workshop and in the second picture the vibrator units show the beater disks, and new Poplar timber to replace the water damaged material.

  • 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.