The organ in Little Malvern Priory is one of the musical
gems of Worcestershire. It was built by the London firm of William Hill &
Sons for a Mrs. and Miss Walker who lived at Rock House in Little Malvern. At
a time when there were two good local firms (John Nicholson in Worcester and
Eustace Ingram in Hereford), the choice of a major London firm demonstrates that
the Walkers’ had both high aspirations and the financial means at the time.
This simple instrument enjoys a perfect west gallery
position, from where its beautiful sound has provided the musical backdrop for
the last 135 years. Although modest in size, there is nothing diminutive about
the quality of construction. This would have been one of the finest organs of
its size that money could have bought at that time.
Regular and visiting organists have stated that there are
high-pitched whimpering sounds coming from the organ when some stops are drawn.
This has been a longstanding problem with the Priory instrument, and is due to
the condition of the soundboard.
The only solution is for the restoration of the soundboard
which will have to be carried out off-site and will require major dismantling of
the instrument. Given that the rest of the instrument is in a tired, worn and
dirty condition, and that the work on the soundboard would represent a large
proportion of the work, it would not make sense to dismantle the instrument to
undertake the soundboard work without addressing other aspects of the
Nicholson & Co undertook a cleaning and light overhaul
of the organ in 1977, but the instrument has never been restored at any stage in
its now very long life. After many years of service, it is now in such condition
that it requires significant work to safeguard its long term future.
It is planned to have the organ restored to its former glory by Nicholson
& Co in 2019.
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