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Re launch of Warrington Civic Society


Gary
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What time does it finish and where can you park round there at night ? 

 

Worth noting the market multi-storey car park closes at 9pm if anyone was planning on parking there.  Don't get yourself locked in :wink:

 

 

Very easy to park in the road outside at that time of night or one of the nearby pay and displays which i think stop charging after 6pm - No set time to finish - just leave when you've had enough :wink:

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Thanks Gary, I didn't know you could park round there for free at night :D

 

Not sure if I'll be able to go again though as they always seems to fall on a day and time that are a bit awkward for me.  Will do my best though :D

 

 

Nothing could be more important than saving what is left of the heritage of our great town :wink:

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Nothing could be more important than saving what is left of the heritage of our great town :wink:

 

 

The 1870 Cavaillé-Coll Organ in the Parr Hall has recently been awarded an Historic Organ Certificate and listed as Grade 1 by the British Institute of Organ Studies.

Unfortunately, this may raise the profile of this important instrument, but will make no difference to the attention it receives from Warrington Borough Council.

There is still no money to maintain or regularly tune this instrument.

http://www.bios.org.uk/resources/hocs2.php

It is number 4 on this list.

This Historic Organ Certificate reads as follows -

 

The organ in the Parr Hall, Warrington, Cheshire has been awarded a certificate Grade 1 for the case, console and surviving original C-C soundboards and pipework.

 

The organ by Cavaillé-Coll (1870) is a rare remaining example of a large organ by this firm in this country and the award is made in recognition of the historic importance of the case, console, survivng original C-C soundboards and pipework.

 

It is therefore listed in the Institute's Register of Historic Pipe Organs as being an instrument of importance to the national heritage and one deserving careful preservation for the benefit of future generations.

 

This certificate is held in trust for the British Institute of Organ Studies while ever the instrument is maintained in a manner consistent with its historical significance.

(End of BIOS notes)

 

Since June, 2014 there has been a Facebook group 'Warrington Cavaillé-Coll Organ' and this is the link to the group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/660405240701596/

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There is an information plaque for the organ that has just been dumped in the basement of the Parr Hall.... saw it down there last year....

Thanks Bazj - It could possibly be the plaque that was done to acknowledge Councillor Harold Edwards' sterling efforts  in bringing it to the attention of those who needed to know that he found out, at the eleventh hour, that a deal had been done with a local scrap merchant, to remove the organ in 1969 for a paltry £105 CASH !!

This could very easily have been accomplished, had it not been for Councillor Edwards blowing the whistle on his colleagues' under-handed workings.

 

It surprises me NOT that a plaque has been dumped in the basement.

I have not yet informed the Warrington Borough Council that the C-C Organ has been listed as an Historic Organ Grade One, the reason being that it would make no difference to their stance on the instrument.

 

The British Institute of Organ Studies awarded this organ the certificate in June, and suggested that it could be framed, and mounted near the organ.

There is every possibilty that if I was to give them this certificate, then it would never see the light of day again.

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Great to hear it's been awarded that status and so it should be.  Who actually owns the organ?  If it's the council wont they be aware that it's now got it though or didn't they have to be involved ?

They will know now though as they read this forum :wink:

Baz, you should have taken a photo of the information plaque when you saw it in the basement.  If it's gone now there will be no record of what it said or was like :( 

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Great to hear it's been awarded that status and so it should be.  Who actually owns the organ?  If it's the council wont they be aware that it's now got it though or didn't they have to be involved ?

 

They will know now though as they read this forum :wink:

 

Baz, you should have taken a photo of the information plaque when you saw it in the basement.  If it's gone now there will be no record of what it said or was like :(

 

The Warrington Borough Council own the organ in the Parr Hall, and have done since they bought it in 1926 for more that £2,000.

 

I took it upon myself to ask the British Institute of Organ Studies to give consideration to awarding it an Historic Organ Certificate, in order to raise the profile of the instrument.

 

The WBC didn't need to be involved, and would not have sought this listing themselves, for obvious reasons.

 

I am pleased to hear that they read this forum, but I am sorry that they do not reply to my few enquiries about the next recital.

There have been, and continue to be enquiries from organists who want to arrange to record it commercially, or privately play the organ, just for the experience of playing such a unique instrument. Unfortunately, they do not get a reply either.

 

You can sense that I am beginning to be dis-enchanted with this.

 

In 1984, and when he was Organist of Chester Cathedral, Roger Fisher recorded an LP of music on the Parr Hall Organ. This was the first published recording of the Cavaillé-Coll Organ, and I am in the process of getting it transferred to a commercial CD.

 

I would be very pleased if this plaque could be retrieved, as I am sure that those remaining members of the C-C Organ Supporters Group would want to keep it in a safe place.

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I would be very pleased if this plaque could be retrieved, as I am sure that those remaining members of the C-C Organ Supporters Group would want to keep it in a safe place.

 

I will see if I can get access to the basement sometime in the next week or so and let you know where it is etc so you can ask the question!

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Excellent Baz and I hope you manage to find it :D

Also very well done Hill Cliffe Walker for taking it upon yourself to get the organ listed.  Shame WBC never thought to do it or showed an interest eh :evil:

Perhaps Gary could do an article on the news page about the new listing etc as I'm sure readers would be very interested and also grateful that someone is taking an interest in it's preservation :D

Are there still plans to sell it off or is it staying here now?
 

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Are there still plans to sell it off or is it staying here now?

 

Thanks Dizzy. There is still uncertainty as to the organ's future, whether it be in the Parr Hall, or elsewhere.

Knowing that this is an important instrument, the Warrington Borough Council has explored ways in which they can dispose of it, to a place where it will be played more often. Sheffield Cathedral said they wanted it, but have now decided they have changed their minds.

 

Whoever takes on the organ will need to be able to afford at least £1million plus, to cover the cost of removing, transporting, installing and renovating it. This could possibly be partially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It has always been the intention of WBC to give it away.

 

At the end of 2011, they were advised about the condition of the organ by Ian Bell, Independent Organ Advisor. His suggestion that it be maintained and regularly tuned. Just having it tuned prior to a recital is not enough.

This has not been implemented, and we are told that there is no money for the organ.

Ideally, a contract for regular maintenance would be a step in the right direction.

 

The Director of Music at St Mary's Church, Buttermarket Street, Warrington has an on-going petition, the aim of this being to have the organ moved to his Church, where it would be used regularly. This is the link to it - http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/move-the-historic-cavaille-coll-organ-from-the-parr-hal/signatures.html

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Has anyone looked into whether Heritage Lottery Funding would be available towards its move and how much they may be willing to give.  Considering the organs importance and the fact that it has been here in Warrington for such a long time surely that must count for something and a move to another location but STILL in Warrington must be the ideal scenario. 

The suggestion of moving it to St Marys where it will be used regularly sounds ideal and would surely bring people into Warrington to hear it played and to see it.  St Mary's is a stunning Church both externally and internally, would it fit in there though and where would it go ?

£1 million is a lot of money but in my view if the council can afford to spend £2+ million on doing their bank park up they can afford to put their hands in their pockets and pay towards the moving of the organ.  They seem to have a lot of money available to give out as 'loans' to various bodies (in the millions) too so they clearly aren't as strapped for cash as they make out.

Come on WBC get you finger out and start taking an interest in out wonderful Heritage before it's all lost to us forever !!!!
 

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Has anyone looked into whether Heritage Lottery Funding would be available towards its move and how much they may be willing to give.  Considering the organs importance and the fact that it has been here in Warrington for such a long time surely that must count for something and a move to another location but STILL in Warrington must be the ideal scenario. 

 

The suggestion of moving it to St Marys where it will be used regularly sounds ideal and would surely bring people into Warrington to hear it played and to see it.  St Mary's is a stunning Church both externally and internally, would it fit in there though and where would it go ?

 

£1 million is a lot of money but in my view if the council can afford to spend £2+ million on doing their bank park up they can afford to put their hands in their pockets and pay towards the moving of the organ.  They seem to have a lot of money available to give out as 'loans' to various bodies (in the millions) too so they clearly aren't as strapped for cash as they make out.

 

Come on WBC get you finger out and start taking an interest in out wonderful Heritage before it's all lost to us forever !!!!

 

 

Thanks Dizzy,  I will try to answer each question.

As Custodian of the Parr Hall Organ, it would need to be WBC who apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The HLF would want to know to what use the organ will be put, and what the interest is in it. If the organ had gone to Sheffield Cathedral, they would have sought HLF grants.

It is more than likely that HLF will insist that the organ has a full restoration - in other words, taking it back to its original condition before the removal of the Barker lever mechanism by Henry Willis lV in 1972. This could prove very costly.

 

Yes, the C-C Organ would just about fit into St Mary's Church, where there is an excellent acoustic and standard of musicianship.

 

Culture Warrington was formed in May, 2012 and is a charitable trust delivering arts, heritage and events across Warrington.

In 2011 the Heritage Lottery Fund granted £672,500 to WBC to transform the old Bird Room in the Warrington Museum.

 

In 2012 The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a grant of £961,000 to regenerate the large run of derelict Foster & Pearson glasshouses at Grappenhall Heys Walled Garden, Warrington.

 

Grappenhall Heys was the home of Joseph Charlton Parr - the man who generously gifted the Parr Hall to the people of Warrington.

 

Culture Warrington featured in the March, 2014 edition of Cheshire Life, with no mention of the Parr Hall, or the imminent recital by Professor Ian Tracey a few weeks later http://www.cheshirelife.co.uk/out-about/places/warrington_brings_art_and_culture_to_the_centre_stage_1_3429365

 

At my request, Cheshire Life published this excellent article online, later in the year - http://www.cheshirelife.co.uk/out-about/preserving_the_cavaille_coll_organ_at_parr_hall_warrington_1_3782813  

 

I appreciate that thw WBC have done their best to find a new home for the C-C Organ.

Although it is unfortunate that we were told that Culture Warrington were expected by the WBC to put on at least two recitals a year, the recital planned for October is just 12 months after that of October, 2014.

 

In June, 2011 I was able to prove to WBC that with the right publicity and Recitalists, we could make a go of it. This recital made a loss for the Parr Hall, but advertising on Smooth FM radio and pricing the seats low proved to be a costly.

 

It is not my place to use this forum to criticise the WBC, or Culture Warrington - but to try to offer constructive criticism.

I thank Gary for the opportunity to air this subject here.

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