Concert organ restoration at Hatchlands Park
Our wonderful concert organ, which dominates the south end of the Music Room here at Hatchlands Park, has just celebrated its 119th birthday. Recent investigations have identified that a full overhaul of this well-loved instrument, that provides so much delight for visitors to the house, is now required. This project will help preserve original features and allow us to continue providing a musical backdrop to your visits for another 100 years.
The Hatchlands Park organ was created in 1904 because Lord Rendel, the owner of the house at the time, simply decided that he wished ‘to add to Hatchlands a music room with an organ in it.’ The order was placed on 16 April 1903, for the sum of £1000. Additions in the building phase cost him an extra £117 and ten shillings, making the total cost roughly £100,000 in today’s money.
The organ was granted Grade I status in 2016 by the British Institute of Organ Studies, who declared it ‘an instrument of importance to our national heritage and one deserving of careful preservation for the benefit of future generations.’
" The organ at Hatchlands is an instrument of importance to our national heritage and one deserving of careful preservation for the benefit of future generations."
Whilst the organ was played for over 100 years before any major conservation work was carried out, over the last few years, with your help, we’ve been able to rectify some issues. Work has been carried out to overhaul the pedalboard and we’ve managed to replace of some of the internal leathers. Now though, we need to complete a comprehensive restoration to ensure the instrument can remain in playable condition.
The organ will be disassembled back to its component parts. All the pipes will be removed, cleaned inside and out and, where damaged under their own weight, they’ll be straightened and repaired. Each set of leather bellows will be re-leathered in order to prevent deterioration and stop leaks. Metal tubing will be cleaned and repaired. Where glues have dried out or wood split, allowing air to escape, the wood will be refurbished and joints re-glued.
It’s a mammoth task that can only be done by hand using skilled craftsmen, but the results will be instantly recognisable. For the first time since the house was opened by the National Trust, we’ll hear the organ as it sounded when it was newly built. Each pipe will speak more clearly, every key will work perfectly, the sounds of hissing air leaks will depart and the subtle nuance of this wonderful instrument will be heard again during visits and concerts.
To achieve this dream we need your help. You can help us in a number of ways when you visit Hatchlands Park. All of the proceeds from our Pre-Loved Bookshop, our Special Places raffle tickets, or donations of small change placed in collection boxes on your way home, contribute to the organ restoration fund. Alternatively, you can make larger donations online by visiting our appeal page.
We’re hugely grateful for your help and we can’t wait to welcome you back to Hatchlands Park when work is complete, to hear for yourselves the results of the restoration.