Adlington Hall Organ from an Organ Maker
We have written blogs about The Organ within The Great Hall of Adlington Hall before, however not one like this!
We are lucky to have John Pike Mander, the son of Noel Mander who restored the Organ in 1958/9, write the following for us;
“The organ at Adlington Hall is the oldest unaltered instrument of its size in the British Isles. It appears to have been installed in the 1690s, possibly in celebration of the marriage of John Legh to Lady Isabella Robates in 1693. The Robates family was known to have been musical It is likely that the casework of the organ and possibly most, if not all of its pipework came from an earlier instrument from elsewhere, one which may have been built by “Father” Bernard Smith, who came to England after the Restoration to become the leading organ builder in England of his time. Father Smith also built the organ for St Paul’s Cathedral. It was restored by Noel Mander in 1958/9, having been unplayable for anything up to 100 years.
It is one of the very few organs which Handel is sure to have played. Handel visited Adlington in 1751 and presented Charles Legh with a setting of a “Hunting Song” he had written.”
John Pike Mander himself is now the Managing Director of Mander Organs, a role he took over after the retirement of his father in 1983. At the time when Noel Mander was working on the Organ of Adlington Hall John was only 9 years old – shown in the picture below, John stands in front of the Adlington Hall Organ, with his father to the left and Jim Bowman and Walter Thacker, the pipe makers, to the right.
John recalls being told by his father that a gentleman called Sam Clutton inspected the organ before his father saw it and said that less than 50% of the pipeline could be saved, as it appeared it had been flattened by somebody either falling into it or because somebody had been careless in getting into the trap door above the organ and had trampled on it in getting access. We are lucky to have pictures that show the damaged pipes below.