St John the Baptist Parish Church

Where a warm welcome awaits you

Renovation and Repair Project

Organ Progress report No 4

I imagine that you are wondering when our Organ will be repaired and rebuilt. The sad news is that the previous works to both the Great and Swell wind/sound boxes were so badly executed previously that a major re-build and adaptions have taken place to them. This extra work has caused delay to the completion. The good news is that the Organ builder has confirmed that he will not be charging an additional cost for this work.

Copy of the minute in the Standing Committee minutes:-

“LC, AP and DRM, together with Colin Nicholls, had met with James the Organ Builder. The bad news is that we will not be getting the organ back in time for Easter.  There have been some problems with the glue used when previous restorations took place and there were some technical problems with the soundboards.   James said he regretted the unavoidable delay with this restoration.  LC advised James she hoped it would be installed by July in time for our confirmation service (not September as James had indicated).

DRM said he found James to be a very conscientious organ builder, who would not take any shortcuts and he was confident the organ restoration was in good hands.

I have spoken with James recently regarding progress and he confirmed that the re-built wind/sound boxes together with some photographs should be delivered back to the Church very shortly. He is hoping that these will display pictorially the work that had to be undertaken. He confirmed that had he ignored the previous work St John’s would be looking again for repair work within the next few years which he wanted to avoid.

Over the last few weeks James has removed the storage boxes from the North Aisle that contained all the smaller pipework, some only 1-2 inches high and a diameter of a finger. These pipes will be cleaned, checked for damage and repaired as necessary. In addition a start will be made to re-building the Organists console including adaptions to the new action.

The general electronics to the Organ has been designed by a specialist and the necessary off-site works completed and returned to Farnham.

Let us pray that no further major problems are discovered and that our Organ is leading our worship shortly.

In confirmation of Colin’s report above, I would simply amplify the point that James struck me as a meticulous craftsman. Faced with a more difficult dismantling of the wind/sound boxes than he had costed for, due to the type and/or quantity of glue previously used, he appeared determined to do the job properly to give us the best possible quality of workmanship, and with an eye to the long term, so that future maintenance/restoration would not have to face similar challenges for the next generation. I believe we will be getting very good value for money but will just have to wait a little longer for it.

Colin Nicholls and David Ramsbottom