The St Mellitus archive volunteers have been incredibly hard at work during the latest lockdown.…
We are delighted to announce that the restoration of the Hunter memorial organ at St Mellitus is complete.
F. H. Browne & Sons (now known as Mander Organs) have been back to the church to install the decorative pipes and make final tweaks to the organ, and Ian Bell, the independent organ adviser overseeing the project, has signed off the restoration.
Ian first saw the organ back in May 2014 when he made his recommendations regarding its future restoration:
‘The present state of the organ is at best very tired and sinking quite fast. Restoration is decidedly overdue.’
Although in desperate need of repair, the heritage value of the organ was never in doubt:
‘The organ at St Mellitus… is from the most polished and experienced period of the Hunter firm’s work and falls squarely into the mainstream of their most successful output, both tonally and mechanically. The quality of design and materials has been proved by the durability of the result, and although the perishable fine leatherwork of the pneumatic mechanism is inevitably deteriorating, it is significant how much is still working well, after over 90 years’ constant use.’
Ian’s final report on the restoration notes that the work ‘is uniformly impressive’. He concludes: ‘This has been a challenging project, bravely addressed by the parish with the invaluable assistance of (The National Lottery Heritage Fund) NHLF, and very professionally executed by F.H.Browne & Sons and their associates.’
The restoration has been completed in time for the centenary of the organ’s original dedication on the 12th December 1920; it’s a great shame that Covid restrictions prevent us from coming together at St Mellitus to mark this event as a community, but we hope that you will join us online to celebrate the centenary of this very special memorial. We will be live streaming a concert, featuring James Orford, Organist in Residence at Westminster Cathedral and tenor Ruairi Bowen on 13th December 2020 to mark this auspicious occasion.
Details of how to join us will be posted on our events page.
Thank you to everyone from the parish and local community and to National Lottery players around the country who have made this restoration possible.
Click on the link below for a sneak preview and enjoy James playing Théodore Dubois’ Toccata on our wonderful organ.