A restoration/reconstruction almost complete..
In the spring of 2013 Martin Renshaw and I began to restore an organ that used to be in Aylesford Methodist Church. The organ almost certainly started life as a house organ built some time around 1780 as a one-manual instrument in a quite ornate Gothic case. A short compass Swell was added later and sometime during the 19C the compass was extended to C by the addition of extra notes at each end of the windchest. By the 1890s further modifications were made including the addition of a clamp on the Swell. With all of these changes it was decided to reconstruct the organ as a two-manual instrument with it's original G-compass manual as the Great with a C-compass Swell. The Great windchest had retained a second set of sliders for a piano mechanism with the ends of the sliders simply sawn off in the open position. By splicing new ends onto these sliders the piano mechanism could be reconstructed. The organ was being built for the parish church in Villabarou near to Blois in France. The church is used regularly as it is the focus of a 12-church united benefice. As far as was known the church had never had an organ before.
The entire organ, except for the case, was assembled in the workshop at Birling, Kent and then taken down and reassembled in Villebarou in April 2014.
|Early stages of rebuilding the organ in the Kent workshop|
|The new console|
The casework was restored by French artisans who re-established the original imitation rosewood finish and matched this finish on additional new panels required for the sides of the reconstructed organ that was deeper than the original one-manual house organ. The facade pipes (both speaking and 'flatback') were regilded. Missing finials and mouldings were made to match the remaining originals. This project was an opportunity for me to work with my brother Robin, a carpenter who lives in Germany, who
|Robin Shuker and Martin Renshaw at an|
early stage of erecting the case on-site
|The organ in Villbarou before|
the restoration of the case
By November 2014 the organ was fully assembled awaiting final regulations and adjustments once everything had settled down.
|The organ at Villebarou with its fully decorated case and regilded pipes.|
The stop knobs have paper labels in 18C style