St Bride's: News - Harrison & Harrison appointed for imminent organ repair

St Bride's: News

Harrison & Harrison appointed for imminent organ repair

 Harrison & Harrison appointed for imminent organ repair

In May 2018 there was a lightning storm across London and for the third time in its history St Bride's was struck. Though there was no structural damage, the strike fried the electrical systems of our fine Compton organ.

Following a detailed tender process, Harrison and Harrison Ltd. have been appointed to undertake the repairs to the organ.

Harrison's is one of the country's foremost organ builders and they are currently undertaking major refurbishment works on the organs of York Minster and Canterbury Cathedral. They were chosen because they properly understood and appreciated the complexities of our Compton organ.

They have also reassured us that work done now would not be wasted if, following the successful conclusion of the work and further inspection of the working instrument, it was found that more refurbishment works were necessary.

So what is being done now? Over the last few weeks, two of Harrison's electrical specialists have been patiently working through Compton's wiring systems inside the organ chambers, studying old wiring diagrams, all to help their understanding of how the instrument's electrics worked before the strike. They then translated these findings into a modern wiring system.

Where possible the most up-to-date equipment and fibre-optic cabling will be installed, replacing many of the old relay systems with modern electronics and computer programming.

We are also updating the electrical and memory systems on the console; relocating switches that operate the organ's wind supply (currently housed in Verger's cleaning cupboard!) nearer the console; retiring some rather ancient electrical rectifier equipment in the crypt; and, not least, replacing the cotton-clad wiring from the original 1950s installation!

Harrisons will be undertaking this work during July/August, and so we are very hopeful that by September we should be hearing the pipes of our wonderful Compton organ playing once again - music to our ears!

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