Organ Restoration on its way
The organ in St Mary’s was built by Henry Willis and Sons in 1878 and enlarged by them in 1894.
The instrument comes from their best period (The Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbury
Cathedral etc.) and is, therefore, a valuable and historic instrument. It is the only organ by this famous firm in the City of Bath and it is considered to be one of the most notable instruments in the Diocese of Bath and Wells.
Between installation and the present, the organ has been worked on by other companies – and not always sympathetically – so that several ranks of pipes do not sit well with the rest of the instrument and these need revoicing /replacing, including the Great Mixture and Fifteenth.
One of the major issues and concerns at the moment is the condition of the leatherwork of the bellows and drawstop machines as some of it is original – from 1878 – and is clearly near the end of its life.
The last major work on the organ was carried out over eighty years ago and it is now our turn to restore this historic instrument in order to hand it on to future generations.
Following a full inspection of the organ by an independent advisor, the contract for the restoration of the instrument has been awarded to Harrison and Harrison of Durham, who currently look after the instrument. Work on dismantling the organ is due to begin on April 17th2023 and, all being well, it should be back in time for the busy Christmas season.
Fundraising has been a long and arduous road and we cannot thank enough the many people who have donated to the Organ Restoration Fund over the past few decades and, of course, we are enormously grateful to our two major donors for their amazing generosity. Without them, this project just would not have been possible.
We eagerly look forward to April 17th when we shall be able to wish our much-loved Father Willis –
St. Mary’s is fortunate to have the support of an enthusiastic adult choir, which is responsible for the musical ministry of the church both within and beyond the parish. Numbering 30 at full strength, the choir rehearses on Friday evenings at 7.30pm, and again immediately before every sung service. The repertoire is comprehensive, ranging from the the music of the Renaissance schools right up to works which have been specially written for the choir.
Originally installed by Father Willis in 1878 and enlarged by him in 1894. His pipework remains at the heart of the organ, in spite of subsequent alterations by Hele and Co in 1904, Norman and Beard in 1932 and Eustace and Aldridge in 1980.
The Bathwick Bellringers practice on Wednesday evenings from 1930 to 2100 and everyone will receive a warm welcome. On a good night they can manage a few leads of London Royal, but all levels are catered for. On Sunday mornings they ring a quarter peal starting at 0915 for the 1030 service. Visitors are most welcome to join them for this and should contact the Tower Master Mike Stubbs on 01225 484628 for details.