The organ is by George Pike England (1767-1815) - one of the finest organ builders of the late-Georgian period. It is a one-manual organ of five ranks in an unusually large case for such a modest instrument. Martin Renshaw acquired it and is currently restoring the organ in his workshop in France. My task is to restore the case.
During its travels one of the tower cornices was lost and I made a copy last year (see my earlier post in November 2017).
The first step was to assemble the upper part of the case to see what was missing/to be restored.
This project is of particular significance to me as the first organ that caught my attention was the G P England organ (c1811) in St Andrew's Shifnal Shropshire - my home town. When I first encountered the organ in the late 1960s and early 70s it was part of sprawling 3-manual instrument Abbott and Smith instrument buried in the south transept. Andrew Freeman photographed the organ in 1938 (see below, courtesy of the Cadbury Research Library, Univesity of Birmingham) - just around the time that my father - William Alfred Shuker (1915-1998) was a choir member, organ blower and bellringer in the church. I only played the organ once - very tentatively -, but I do recall noting that a number of stopknobs had 'England' engraved on them.
It is therefore with some considerable frisson that I find myself working on an organ case made by G P England. I have to say that my preference is for the classical case fronts rather than the Gothick varieties, as at Shifnal, with the rather fussy details surmounting flat towers. The fun of the eighteenth century classical organ case with sensuous curves on the pipe flats and clean, round towers was beginning to give way to an overwrought heaviness that. to my mind, is a feature of Victorian design.