Organ Restoration Project

The St Chad’s organ is playable at the moment, and continues to produce a fine sound. However, it is gradually deteriorating as more and more faults develop and parts wear out. Ideally a full restoration is needed. Otherwise, at some point in a few years’ time, the organ will become unplayable because so many faults will have developed.

The ideal solution would have cost in the region of £135,000 at 2014/15 prices. Although we have a small Organ Fund of our own, carefully raised over the years through fund raising efforts and donations, to achieve a full restoration we would need to heavily rely on grants.

We made two attempts to tap the grant source, but both were unsuccessful. The Heritage Lottery Fund people were sympathetic to our case, and could have covered up to £100,000, but needed prior reassurance that the remainder of the cost would be covered. Although we received two small grant offers from other bodies, other grant sources rejected our applications, and we could not show that we had successfully covered the entire cost of the project either by cash-in-hand or firm grant offers.

As an alternative, we are looking at smaller scale schemes to improve the resilience of the organ. The first of these will be to have the main ‘motors’ of the middle (Swell) manual re-leathered, together with similar work to two of the Pedal stops. Most of the currently ‘missing’ notes on the organ occur on the Swell manual, and some of these are quite important notes. Similar work will be done to the two pedal stops, currently at least half the notes on these stops do not play at all.

This work will restore most of the currently ‘missing notes’ and ensure that future failings in these areas will be much less likely. A grant of £2500 from the Pilling Trust has been promised for this work, the residue of the cost (just over £4000) being covered from our own Organ Fund.

Of course, other faults will occur from time to time. Once the above work is completed, further smaller scale schemes will be considered to improve the resilience of the organ in other areas. These will also involve small scale grant applications in conjunction with our own resources.

Of course if there is a significant donor out there reading this, able and willing to offer about £30K, please make yourself known to us and then we could look at a full restoration again. 

Click here for an account of the history of the organ.

There are photographs of the organ in its current state here.

 

General view of the organ from the Nave. Most of the front pipes are decorative only. A full restoration scheme will not alter the general external appearance.

 

 

Part of the problem !  The spaghetti-like pneumatic pipes. If a problem develops in or behind these, it is impossible to fix. In a full restoration scheme, they would be replaced by an electro-pneumatic system, which will make access much easier.

 

 

Another part of the problem. The 'drunken' pipes in the Swell Box. These are squashed together because of the 'mitre-ing', go out of tune and break easily. A full restoration would provide an increased height will provide an increased height for the Swell Box, reducing the need to 'mitre' the longer pipes, and improving both sound output and ease of access for maintenance.

 

 

General view of the organ console.