The blog shows a record of our past and current work. Please click on the post for the full details
  • Dismantling and removing pipework

    Chris and Nick removing pipes from the Great, taking care not to disturb the horizontal trackers under the Swell chest

  • Theatr Soar Conacher organ restoration

    Overlapping with the restoration at Vauxhall we have started dismantling pipes and actions for the restoration of the 1890 Peter Conacher organ at Theatr Soar in Merthyr Tydfil, which was once the Welsh-speaking chapel and is now the Welsh community theatre and language centre,  Because of its position the organ is tall and shallow, …

  • Edward finishing restoration of Morecambe….

    Edward has been restoring an interesting chamber organ for St Barnabas Morecambe, rescued by Father Michael Childs.  It has had a puzzling history, but looks like an organ put together in about 1840, using 18th century parts, including the windchest and some of the pipes.  It was altered in about 1900 by Martin and Coates …

  • Morecambe chamber organ before restoration

    This is a picture of the organ before restoration.  Its exterior finish has been restored by Nick Hagen, and will be shown in a future blog.

  • Christopher Kent’s Positive organ, almost finished

    Christopher Kent’s positive organ, almost finished.  Its model is the ca1700 South German organ which we restored for Alan Rubin, with a regal based on one in the Brussels Musical Instrument Museum and a colour scheme derived loosely from 17th century German positive organs.

  • Handel House organ becomes cake

    Simon Williams had his recent 60th birthday celebrated with a cake modelled on the Handel House organ, which lives in St George’s Hanover Square where he is organist and director of music.  I don’t know the name of the cake-maker, but admire the craftsmanship…

  • Eton college RCO masterclass day

    On February 8th Paddy Russill led a masterclass on the Wingfield organ, with pupils of David Goode at Eton College.  The organ is currently in the Verey Room at Eton, as part of an exhibition organized by Magnus Williamson and Dominic’s daughter Lucy (Deputy Librarian in the College Library at Eton) around the Eton Choirbook, …

  • Restoring Vauxhall flute

    The stoppers are beautifully made with turned wood and greased cork seals; no sign of the metal pipes being deformed at the stopper

  • Restoring Vauxhall pedal key action

    The original leather roller arm bushes were disintegrating, and have all been replaced in the traditional manner with hide soaked in polish and clamped into shape on the arm

  • Restoring Vauxhall…

    The Pedal key action in the 1870 Lewis organ at St Peter Vauxhall is basically a roller running diagonally from the pedalboard to the pedal windchest on the treble side.  The rollers are divided in the middle to give a support, though some had rusted solid into the studs…

  • Dismantling done!

    The dismantling done, apart from the Pedal key action

  • More dismantling…

    ….more dismantling with Nick, Edward, Joe (underneath), Rob and Chris

  • Dismantling on 17th December 2019

    The organ being dismantled in the week of December 16th 2019; Rob, Chris, Joe and Edward in the picture, with a Pilcher chamber organ behind Edward, now belonging to Justin Berg, who has lent it while St Peter’s is without an organ.  St Peter’s have a sung evensong once a month with the St Peter’s …

  • Before restoration….

    The organ before restoration, with leaning pipes, missing swell box, missing side panel and ornamental pipework, but most importantly the effects of dirt, age, wear and tear.  The organist is Will Fraser who is

  • The Lewis name label

    T.C.Lewis became one of the most important Victorian organ builders – see Christopher Gray’s article in volume 22 of the BIOS Journal.  Even this small church organ has a vibrant tone which fills Pearson’s brick-vaulted church.

  • The 1870 TC Lewis organ at St Peter Vauxhall before restoration

    The organ is by T.C.Lewis, almost unaltered except for the loss of the swell box in the 1970s.  Unusually the Swell was at the front of the organ, facing backwards, so it will not be replaced.  It looks as if the organ was built for a room with a low ceiling, or perhaps it was …

  • St Peter Vauxhall

    We are starting the restoration of the organ in St Peter Vauxhall, the first urban church by J.L.Pearson one of the top Victorian architects, in his characteristic 12th century French Gothic style

  • Christmas dinner…

    Christmas dinner at the School of Artisan Food here at Welbeck

  • All ready for visitors…

    We were ready for the visitors at Welbeck winter weekend.

  • Open Studios at Welbeck last weekend

    It was the Welbeck Winter Weekend open studios, craft and food fair and we were open to visitors last weekend.

  • The consort organ in Centeilles

    L’Acheron viol consort recording in the historic chapel of Centeilles in southern France (In the Minervois in Languedoc), using the new consort organ made last year provided by Francois Ryelandt.

  • IBO visit to Dublin

    IBO visit to Trinity College Dublin on Saturday October 12th with Andrew Johnstone playing music by William Byrd, Pepusch and J.S.Bach.

  • The wind chest waiting to be inserted in the case

    The completed wind chest, with the keys in position, is waiting to be inserted in the case.  The table would originally not have been graphited, and it is unlikely that there would have been grooving for runnings and ciphers, though the grooving did appear in early organs.  In Germany a ‘running groove’ would have been …

  • Gluing in the pallets

    Edward gluing in the leather pallet hinges.  The baseboard of the pallet box is also the bottom board of the upper case, and would originally have had the spring rail glued to it.  Here Edward has provided a separate spring rail, which means he can position the pallets with their springs as he glues the …

  • Gluing the pallet box to the soundboard

    The pallet box frame is glued to the underside of the soundboard (i.e. the bar frame, bars and table), with leather covering the bars and channels behind the pallet box.  Originally the open channels would have been covered with re-used parchment manuscript, or more likely, the Coppel 8ft upperboard and slider would have been attached …

  • Grooves in the layers of the Coppel 8ft upperboard

    This is the Coppel 8ft (stopped wood) upperboard and a joining board to the vertical board for the bass pipes.  In the bass the position of the pipes cannot be accommodated to the spacing of the channels, so they have to be moved further and further away, and the bottom pipes are placed horizontally, with …

  • Pilot holes and oblong holes in the table, sliders and upperboards

    The holes would have been drilled through the bottom layers of the upperboards, the sliders and the table as pilot holes.  Because of the narrowness of the channels, the larger holes have to be provided as oblong holes, and the slider movement has to be limited because the holes cannot be staggered

  • Edward drilling holes in the table

    Edward drilling the holes in the table of the soundboard

  • Making a wind chest – gluing the bars of the soundboard

    This year we have been making a new four stop positive organ, in the south German style of around 1700 for Dr. Christopher Kent.  This sequence of pictures shows the stages in making the tiny but perfectly-formed wind chest, mostly made by Edward Bennett.  This picture shows the gluing of the bars into the soundboard

  • Dominic studying the original manuscript of Thomas Dallam’s journal of his 1599 trip to Istanbul

    Dominic had an exciting time last Monday studying the original manuscript of the journal which the organ builder Thomas Dallam kept during his 14 month voyage to the Sultan in Istanbul in 1599-1600, accompanying, repairing and playing a fantastic clockwork-driven barrel organ (with keyboard).  It has been an obsession for many years.  The transcription was …