NOTES AND QUERIES
An Australian member is concerned in founding a Reed Organ Preservation Society and claims to be the only professional reed organ builder still working there. She would like to know about any reed organ society either here or on the continent, and any reed organ builders still operating; and any contacts she might make on a visit (2).
On a hill high above the A485 at Llanbister I recently came across a small onemanual, in an early nineteenth century case with dummy pipes, bearing the inscription Reconstructed Cox and Spiers, Banbury 1859 on a brass plate. No sooner had I arrived home, than I received an enquiry from the organist of Banbury Parish Church concerning Cox o^ London who, according to the Oxford Journal of 1842, in that year lowered the organ and rebuilt it, apparently supplying Dulcianas to swell and choir and a Cremona to the great. Did he settle in Banbury afterwards? By the dates this is a distinct possibility. The Curator of Banbury Museum made certain records available, the following information finally emerged;
Charles Cox is recorded as organ builder and pianoforte tuner at various addresses between l84? and t862. Spiers seems to have been a versatile character; carpenter and joiner in 1845, by l846 he was landlord of the Butcher's Anns; in 1856 he added brewing, carrying both these on until l8?2. In l862 the year Cox ceased work he is noted as a funeral carriage proprietor; perhaps an outlet for organ building? As yet I have found no traces of their labours in their own locality; but there are works by Henry Achurch (who, according to J.T.Lightwood's is recorded in 1866 so far afield as Knaresborough) and H.W.Balsar Ludwig a generation later. Talking of funeral activities, Dyer and Levert on"ITV are said to have doubled as undertakers, and appropriately enough Corps shared premisis with one in Reading.
The note on John Compton (1) should have mentioned his apprenticeship with Halmshaw of Birmingham and his later work with Brindley and Foster. He once stated that he knew, as a boy, 'two very interesting and effective examples' of the mounted cornet, at Tettenhall and Market Bosworth (4) Has anyone any info? The latter is rumoured to have had, at one time, a Snetzler. I have, however, a note made by the Revd Gordon Poole, Vicar of Quinton near Stratford-on Avon, in October 1925, that he had just visited the Wesleyan Chapel at Thornton in Leicestershire, where was an organ which 'had originally been in Bow Church, Cheapside, from there it went to Market Bosworth, from there to the new church of St Hilda, Leicester, and now it is in the above mentioned Wesleyan Church'. It still was some 20 years ago but had not escaped alteration. No mounted cornet. Nor was there one in the first organ Bow had (after the Great Fire), the Russell of 1802 (5) so some sorting-out is required. Incidentally, A.H.Mann was briefly organist at Tettenhall.
Queries In the 1891 Guide to Birmingham Churches the organ at Netherton was ascribed to Harris on of Leeds and that of Rowington to Parsons of Leicester. Enquirer baffled and so am I. Of the six Parsons so far recorded (6) Sheffield, Plymouth, and London were the bases. The Hope-Jones at Mostyn House School, Parkgate (l894) was made up from the old organ at St Peter Eastgate, Lincoln; what was that? An organ from Windsor is said to have gone to St George, Headstone (Harrow) and then to West End, Chobham; information sought. The Wiltshire Magazine of l855 noted that at Wingfield, Suffolk 'an ancient organ' was still to be found,'the largest pipe is about 5 feet long, of wood'. Is anything known?
And what of the organ set up 'at the expense of the parish' at Bradford-on-Avon in 1729? Dix is again enquired about; It is thought he might have been a Binns man, and his workshop may have been at Whitby. An organ formerly in Hungerford Hospital was once in a house at Newbury ; the present owner is anxious for information. It seems to have eluded the eagle eye of 'A.F.'
In the Kodak Magazine for January 1928, L.A.H. Horobin had some organal matter and photographs; does anyone know of a copy, or what was included? The state and fate of the organ in Haden Cross Hall, Staffordshire, excites a query. A photograph appears in Victorian and Edwardian Staffordshire from Old Photographs showing a three manual with receding jambs in the Porritt style. Is it known what preceded the 1905 Binns at Bedford, St Peter? lam satis
In the years following the Restoration of l660, some members of an old Warwickshire family left Stratford-on-Avon for London. Several generations later in 1839 Eustace Ingram was born. His father served in the Crimean War, and when Eustace was in his late 'teens, his father married a second time; his bride, Louisa Shaw, was the daughter of 'one of the founders of the Royal Institute of British Architects """ at the time an architect """ in the City of London ... he designed Christ's Hospital ... and St Dunstan in the West'. So Eustace's obituary; but there seems some confusion between two John Shaws; the designer of the buildings mentioned was dead a few years before the RIBA was founded, 25 years or so before the wedding. John Shaw the Younger must be meant.
At the age of l4, Eustace was apprenticed to Snell of Stoke Newington, and at 21 was articled to Father Willis to learn Voicing. His son, Eustace, claimed that it was when with Willis (whose personal assistant he became) that his father accidentally discovered the principle of the harmonic reed. (8) He might have done;
but such stops were being made by Cavaillé-Coll, when Eustace was in his cradle. (9) " Having started his own business in 1867, in l873 he went into partnership with Speechley, a nephew of J.C. Bishop, who had been with Willis and left to start his own business in i860. (He was Willis's soundboard man, and the presentation watch Willis gave him when he left is in the possession of Noel Mander who took over the Speechley business). Speechley and Ingram did not last long and the partners went their own ways, Ingram setting up in Eden Grove, Holloway. There were three sons in the business; but then Eustace junior went to Hereford and afterwards, in t894, with his brother Arthur, established Ingram and Co. of Hereford and Edinburgh. (I believe that for some time the Hereford firm had been Hines and Ingram, but find no trace of this). After Hope-Jones left Norman and Beard, the firm split into Ingram, Hope-Jones & Co., Hereford, and Ingram & Co. Edinburgh. The latter was ultimately taken over by Rushworth & Dreaper in 1956;
the former suffered a severe blow with the precipitate flight of Hope-Jones to the U.S.A. to avoid legal action, in 1903. It was voluntarily liquidated, though, the name Ingram continued to be used by the purchasers. Meanwhile, also in l894, Eustace senior had acquired the premisis and business of G.M.Holdich in Liverpool Road. But Holdich and Ingram was very short-lived and soon became part of Gray and Davison's business, Eustace remaining for a while to manage it. (l0) The Ingram influence has not left organ building, for Dr Ingram is the present proprietor of Starmer Shaw of Northampton.
(1) Reporter iv 5.