ORGAN OF THE MONTH 33: March 2005

Kidderminster Town Hall
(William Hill & Son, 1855)

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The importance of this historic instrument lies in the fact that it has remained in its original form (including tracker action and foot-operated combination levers - there are no modern playing aids) allowing it to be heard and played almost exactly as Hill intended.  Members of BOA were privileged to do just that during February's "organ crawl" to Kidderminster.

The organ has been beset with various problems during its 150-year history, including subsidence and the effects of the modern heating system introduced in the 1970s which damaged the soundboards.  The organ world owes a particular debt to Harold Frampton, Kiddermister's Borough Engineer but also a very keen & accomplished organist, for saving the organ in its present form during the 1950s.  In 1980, the District Council decided to completely rebuild and restore the instrument with financial support from the Carnegie UK Trust, the work being entrusted to Hill, Norman & Beard.  The re-opening recital was given by Dr Francis Jackson.

Of particular interest is the inclusion of a Violon 16ft of wood in the Pedal Organ, probably the first example of this stop, which established itself as a popular and useful feature of Hill's later instruments.  A curiosity is that the Choir Organ reed is labelled Cormorne [sic].  One welcome change since Hill's day is the facility to play the Swell's Double Diapason as a Pedal Organ stop, thus providing a soft pedal rank without adding to Hill's original tonal scheme.


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Last modified: February 14, 2005