OUR ‘FATHER’ WILLIS NEEDS – YOU!
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, we have acquired quotations from three organ building companies and we are hoping that Harrison and Harrison of Durham, who currently look after the instrument, will be asked to undertake the work when the necessary funds have been raised.
The total cost of the proposed restoration will be in the region of £400,000 – hopefully, a little less – but we are faced with the gargantuan task of raising this sum and, currently, we are just over a quarter of the way there!
Until the order is placed, we shall not know when the work can begin although, at the earliest, this will be 2022 and, at the very minimum, we can expect the organ to be out of action for six to nine months
Any help that you can give us towards achieving our financial target will be very gratefully received. If you have any questions regarding donating to this appeal, please contact the Treasurer via the church office – 01225 447450.
Photographs of the OrganPhotographs-of-Organ-1