BIRMINGHAM ORGANISTS' ASSOCIATION

 

ORGAN OF THE MONTH 05: November 2002

King Edward VI Five Ways School (Wadsworth, 1909)
[rebuilt & enlarged by Lloyd & Haynes, 1999]

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Specification

K E Five Ways School is one of the seven Schools of the King Edward VI Foundation in Birmingham, established by royal charter in 1552.  Roy Massey was its Director of Music in the 1960s, before he moved on to the Royal School of Church Music and the cathedrals of Birmingham and Hereford.  During his time at Five Ways, Roy encouraged the building of a small extension organ in the School Hall by Alfred Davies & Co.

Previously a boys-only grammar school, Five Ways is now fully co-educational following the completion of a 3 million expansion in the late 1990s.  This involved enlargement of the School Hall to accommodate a total of 1000 pupils, for which the original organ was no longer adequate.  The Friends of Five Ways (parents' association) generously donated 18,000 to allow for the relocation and rebuilding of the school organ on a much larger scale by the small Bilston firm of Lloyd & Haynes.  The original Davies pipework was retained, but the instrument now incorporates pipes from a much larger organ in a local Methodist church that had become redundant.

The organ had to be divided into two double cases on either side of the stage at the front of the Hall: not an ideal situation, but space was at a premium.  The bottom octave of the 32ft Contra Bourdon is placed at the back of stage!  The organ is heard in the twice-weekly full school assemblies, and is used regularly by pupils (and staff) for practice.  Earlier this year, Kevin Bowyer gave a lecture-recital supported by a grant from the school's fund for Gifted & Talented pupils.

 

 


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Last modified: October 31, 2002