St Swithun’s Wickham June 2017
Here is one of the first installations that we cover in real detail with you as our plan to take full advantage of web site publication gather momentum. We hope to share the work of the team as we carry out installations across the whole of the UK. St Swithun’s is a lovely large parish church in Berkshire. A church was on this site in Saxon times but the current building was largely rebuilt in the 1840’s.
Rev. William Nicholson began restoring Wickham chapel in 1845, and arranged for carved figures of angels to decorate the hammer beam ends in the north aisle. But when he was visiting the Paris Exhibition of 1855 he saw a set of four elephants, made from papier mache. Thoughts of angels went out of his head, and he purchased the elephants and commissioned a further four. These remarkable elephants now decorate the eight hammer beam ends above the north aisle of Wickham church. Its a startling sight, but what’s just as startling is what good condition the elephants appear to be in as you can see in the photo !
We are here though to talk about the organ. As you will see in the pictures there is a large pipe organ by Bevington from 1840 unusually split into 2 separate cases which is no doubt part of the reason why restoration of this instrument is so costly and currently just not an affordable option. We were approached earlier this year by the priest Mary Harwood, herself an organist, to examine what possibilities there were for a digital solution. It was quickly decided that our Envoy 23-S fitted both church and budget and so it was in June that we carried out the installation.
Part of the challenge of any digital installation is speaker placement. Getting the sound into the building at the right place and also trying to ensure the speakers do not intrude and spoil enjoyment of the view of the building. St Swithun’s offered just the right place high off the ground on the wall plate separating nave from side aisle. As our business has grown we have acquired a range of equipment to help the work. Only recently we added a new vehicle to the fleet. You see them here outside St Swithun’s. We also now have a very tall scaffold tower allowing us to work safely at a height of almost 8 mtrs. This gave us access to the wall plate location for one of the 4 external speakers fitted to the organ.
Once all the wiring in is completed the more delicate job of voicing can start. Our digital organs allow for a very extensive range of adjustment, just as you find with a pipe organ, to enable the instrument to be ‘fitted’ to the building. This is acoustically the same sort of process you go through if you buy a tailored suit. You can buy off the peg at M&S or you can go to Saville Row where the suit will be made to measure. Our Envoy and Regent church organs are very much a Saville Row model! Finally we have put together a few more of the pictures we took on the day for you to enjoy below.
|Open Diapason||16||Open Diapason||8||Chimney Flute||8|
|Bourdon||16||Stopped Diapason||8||Echo Gamba||8|
|Bass Flute||8||Chimney Flute||4||Gemshorn||4|
|Great to Pedal||Tremulant||Tremulant|
|Swell to Pedal||Swell to Great|