organ144 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 144

June 2014

4 manuals
58 speaking stops

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St Mary Magdalene

Goerge Pike England, 1810
"Father" Willis, 1866
Wm Hill, 1910
Hill, Norman & Beard, 1979

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The original organ by England was placed on a western gallery, but it was moved in 1814 to the rood screen, when both screen and organ were painted white.  In 1836, and octave of pedal pipes was added by Bishop, and it was moved to its present position at ground level in the south choir aisle in 1855 by Forster & Andrews during a major restoration of the building.  At this stage, it had four manuals, each with a different compass!

In 1866 "Father" Willis was engaged to complete the organ, when side wings were added to the Scott case, almost doubling it in size.

William Hill rebuilt the organ in 1910, when about 1000 of its 2944 pipes were new.  The hydraulic blowing apparatus installed at this time was replaced by an electric blower, together with minor modifictaions,  in the 1920s by Hill Norman & Beard. Further rebuilds and restoration work were carried out in 1938, 1964 and 1979.  In the latter rebuild, the Choir Organ was remodelled on classical lines and renamed Positiv, and an Ellen Dynamic Transmission System was installed - the first four-manual organ in the country to be so equipped - giving the organist the ability to pre-record a performance and then replay it automatically.

Two familiar faces (to BOA members) can be seen having fun at Ally Pally as June 14's Music of the Month

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