£600,000 for a new Church Organ isn’t expensive after all  

 

Holy Trinity Church in Coventry have been met with a staggering sum of £600,000 if they want their, second-hand, newly secured organ transplanted into the Coventry Church before 2021. However, it now seems that this sum of money isn’t that expensive after all. William McVicker, an organ expert, says “If you bought a new organ for that church, it will cost you anywhere between £800,000 and 1million pounds, if it was brand new”

 

The image above is that of the new organ that is due to be transplanted into Holy Trinity Church in Coventry, hopefully by 2021 which would mark the year of the City of Culture for Coventry. The old organ has been in the parish church since 1860 through to around the year 2000. Unfortunately after speaking to a number of experts it was decided that salvaging the old organ would have been like “trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” a hopeless quest and so Holy Trinity Church has been on a mission since to try and fundraise the money to transfer a new organ into the church.

Transplanting the new organ into the church isn’t going to be easy. Before anything can go ahead the church has to raise £600,000 to be able to pay for the transportation. This figure seems to be extremely high for someone who knows nothing about organs, how they work or how much they are worth.

“You have to have a large organ in a large building for it to be heard and Holy Trinity Church is a large, medieval church, grade one listed, and it needs a large organ to fill the space” says William.  Holy Trinity has already secured themselves a second hand organ from a disused church in Leigh, Greater Manchester which cost the parish £43,000. It has been dismantled and is currently in storage.

William McVicker is one of the consultants dealing with this Holy Trinity’s new organ and says it is “a bargain” to have had to pay £43,000 for an organ when it could have cost between £800,000 and 1 million if it was brand new. In total this could have come close to around 2 million pounds yet it is costing the parish £643,000, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much at all.

Why is the transportation so expensive? 

A number of factors determine the price of the organ being transplanted to Coventry. There is a lot more to an organ than what meets the eye and unless you are an organ expert like William McVicker you will not consider how big of a job it is to assemble an organ.

“All you see is a set of decorative pipes on the front, but behind each of those decorative façades is a huge number of smaller pipes that are hidden out of sight” says William.

“A typical organ might have 4,000 pipes inside it” he explains. Very often to transport an organ from one place to another you have to arrange “organ restorance to be properly refurbished”, the organ also needs to be put onto a new frame in the new church and very often this frame needs to be built as the existing frame is almost always the wrong shape for the new organ.

Although, all of this seems like a lot of effort, this organ has a terrific history behind it. In July 2013 St Thomas Church, Leigh, suffered a catastrophic electrical failure which in turn exposed numerous problems with both the fabric and condition of many church artefacts. Shortly after this burglars ransacked the church and stole various items.

When contacting the church Reverend Robert Dixon was very keen to speak about the organ, “although as if by a ‘miracle’ the organ was untouched” he recalls, “It was evident that the cost to repair the Church and restore is to its former glory was prohibitive and therefore permission was granted to disperse various items and, primarily, save the organ so that it could be used elsewhere.”

Holy Trinity in Coventry, reached out to Fr Robert and a sale was set up. Although the church had to be shut down, as it would have been too expensive to restore it to its previous state, a part of it will live on in Holy Trinity, “For my parish, I know it was heart-breaking to lose St Thomas Church and see its desecration by burglars, but there was immense relief that the organ was simply moving to a new home and would resound in the rafters of a new church” says Fr Robert.

 

FIND THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HARRISON & HARRISON ORGAN BELOW

Aleksandra Ganuszko

 

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