ORGAN RESTORATION COMPLETE!
Scroll down for the full story . . . blow by blow
Although the full amount of the organ restoration has not yet been raised by St Mary & St Margaret’s church, the project is close to achieving its target, now reckoned at some £50,000.
The work began on Monday 13 January 2020 led by John & Isaac from W & A Boggis, organ builders of Diss in Norfolk.
Every piece of the organ will be dismantled and taken to Norfolk for a thorough overhaul. The worn-out parts, including the leatherwork, will be replaced while the 200 year old pipes and now unique pneumatic action will be restored and retained.
It is a major job to restore this historic organ, one of only a few of its kind to still operate pneumatically. Many similar have now been converted to electronic systems. Our organ dates back to the early years of the 19th century and the restoration committee feels it is right for the heritage of this ancient church to restore it in the traditional way.
Over one thousand pipes of all shapes and sizes inside the organ are connected to the keyboard via a network of thin lead tubes. It will take 3 months to refurbish the complex triple keyboard, the leaky wind box and the pipes. Then all will be brought back for the organ to be rebuilt leaving the 200-year-old instrument sounding as good as new. It is hoped that the organ will be back in place by the end of April, ready for the wedding season.
Work dismantling the organ began on 14 January led by Rodney Briscoe with John & Isaac who travelled up from Suffolk for the project. The keyboard has 61 keys on two manuals and foot pedals with thin lead tubes leading to over a thousand pipes varying in size from over two metres in length to just a few centimetres and producing an amazing variety of sounds. The pipes have now been removed, packaged and labelled and taken to Boggis's workshops in Diss, Norfolk. Some six weeks will be spent refurbishing everything before the organ is rebuilt in March and April.
The many parts of the organ have now been restored at organ builders Roydonian Works at Diss in Norfolk. Church organist Martin Bates went to see for himself in February. Sound boards have been refelted, the manual is renovated, the bellows now have new leather and damaged pipes have been repaired by the team at W & A Boggis & Co.
We were hoping the organ would be back in action by April, but due to the restrictions imposed as a result of corona virus, we just have to be patient.
The team: Rodney, Isaac and John
As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak they've been furloughed for the past 12 weeks but now Castle Bromwich is top of the list. However, the re-installation is going to take some time. There are just the two of them and they have to work with face masks and maintain a 2-metre distance while working.
And worse: because there are no hotels open yet, they are travelling daily from Diss in Norfolk, a round trip of some 280 miles with over 5 hours on the road.
It's been a long haul for everyone concerned, not least the organ specialists from Boggis & Co. But it's done. To everyone's surprise and delight organist Martin Bates concluded the first communion service after the lockdown in March with Bach's Toccato in D Minor. A very emotional moment!
St Mary & St Margaret
The Parish Church
of Castle Bromwich
Music has played an important part of worship at Castle Bromwich parish church for many centuries. We have now achieved our target and raised some £50,000 to save our historic organ for the generations to come.
CHURCH ORGAN APPEAL
St Mary and St Margaret
Castle Bromwich Parish Church
Old Chester Road
Birmingham B36 9DE
Tel: 0121 747 1270