The Thomas Elliot Organ
The project plan
Choosing the restorer
After much deliberation it was decided to award the contract for the restoration work to Goetze & Gwynn. They were chosen primarily because they had considerable experience restoring organs of a similar size and history, their quotation was not the most expensive and they could start work within a year.
Dismantling of the organ at the start of the restoration
The main Elliot organ was dismantled and removed for restoration in early July 2008 as scheduled.
Goetze & Gwynn very kindly offered to loan our church a small chamber organ (built around 1850), which we have made available for some of our quieter services during the restoration period. The owner needed a temporary home for the instrument which happened to correspond with the period of our organ restoration, and on that basis we agreed to take up the offer and at the same time provide a temporary home for the instrument. This new chamber organ has been installed in the north aisle of the church, details of which can be viewed on the web-site at Goetze & Gwynn Cullen Organ.
But we have found that to cater for the services with large numbers of people, such as around the Christmas period, the committee have temporarily hired a full-sized Makin electronic organ and this is located at the front of the body of the church.
Monitoring the restoration process
Nicholas Thistlewaite, our organ advisor, visited the works during November 2008 and reviewed the progress on the pedal compass.
On 16th December 2008 we received notification from Goetze & Gwynn that they were a bit concerned that their timetable was behind, partly from finding it difficult to get new people to work here and partly because they underestimated quite seriously on both of the projects before ours. They thought they were about nine to ten weeks behind as they had not started the most difficult part, the reeds.
Alan Leach and Martin Jackson visited the workshop during early May 2009 to review progress and to assess when the organ work would be completed. They saw all aspects of the restoration - new ivories on all the keys, some new action has been made (especially for the pedal), a complete new pedal-board (now with increased compass to top F), some new wooden pipes had been made, work was progressing on restoring the old Cremona pipes from the box of battered pipes that they took away. They also saw the work being done on the casework.
Recording the milestones achieved
Progress reports have been produced by Goetze & Gwynn at times in the project when stage payment points are due in the restoration process. These reports have been passed on to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Council for the Care of Churches for review.
You can download and view these restoration progress reports here:
- Goetze & Gwynn Progress Report No.1 November 2008
- Goetze & Gwynn Progress Report No.2 February 2009
- Goetze & Gwynn Progress Report No.3 May 2009
- Goetze & Gwynn Progress Report No.4 November 2009
Or select here to see Edward and his apprentice tuning the pipes in the church in July 2009.
Installing the organ after completion of the restoration
In the week beginning 15th June 2009, work started to rebuild the restored organ in the organ loft of the west gallery in our church. This work has been completed in time for the inaugural concert in October 2009 (just).