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Restoration of a Chamber Organ

In a small chapel in a small village in Northamptonshire stands this quaint little one-manual organ with an 18th century appearance, pictured here with the organist's bench out of the way. It stands at the east end alongside the central pulpit, rather begging to be played. Alas, the organ was no longer reliable, and had been replaced for regular use by an electronic instrument. Even that had been deemed surplus for three Sundays out of four with the use of a player, operating the organ from computer disks. However, I was asked to restore the pipe organ for posterity.

This interesting little chamber organ, with its rather elaborate façade, contains some interesting features. Its builder is unknown, and there are no clues contained within, but there is plenty of evidence of past alterations.

There are six drawstops, operating manual ranks with a compass of 51 notes: CC to d3, and a 15-note pedalboard running from FFF to GG. The lowest seven of those operate independent pedal pipes (bourdon) with the upper eight being pull-downs from the manual keyboard. It was evident that four of the manual stops were not to be used, as they had blobs of Blu Tack on the knobs obliterating their names. The two usable ones were Dulciana and St. Diapason. One knob had lost its label disc altogether.

There was a kick-swell and, alongside that, a socket for inserting a pedal for pumping the reservoir. There was no sign of the actual pedal, but the organ was fitted with a centrifugal blower, in a box in the corner out of sight.

The general order of work undertaken is listed below.

2 Dismantling
3 Pipe removal
4 Wind supply system
5 Pipe chest
6 Action
7 Pipes and completion

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