organ166 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 166

April 2016

2 manuals
13 speaking stops

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Old Meeting House



Renatus Harris, c.1685

J C Bishop, c.1875

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From last month's large and powerful instrument we move this month to one of the smallest and most restrained of the organs visited during the Norwich Congress.  The Old Meeting House Congregational Church was founded in 1643 - a time of considerable religious turbulence.  Although this building dates from 1693, there is evidence that the organ contains some pipework from earlier in the 17th century.

It is believed that the case (and so maybe some pipework too) pre-dates the c1685 Harris construction and was originally produced by Thomas Dallam for the Choir Organ of Norwich Cathedral.

Originally, it is thought to have comprised a single manual division, with the Swell and Pedal probably added during the 1875 rebuild.  From 2010, the organ has been subjected to what is termed "resurrection", rather than rebuilding or restoration, with many new parts having been made to replicate exactly any originals that were beyond repair.  A hitch down swell pedal and straight pedalboard have been retained. 

This venerable instrument was featured as part of the RCO Lecture-Recital / Walking Tour of central Norwich by Anne Page that formed part of the 2015 IAO Congress.

You can listen to this historic organ as April16's Music of the Month.

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