The Church organ has been sounding a little differently on Sunday mornings recently, with a few strange sounds coming from the historic instrument. It's not that our music team have lost their touch, far from it, it's because the organ is beginning to need some urgent repair.
The wooden sliders that let air into the pipes have warped, probably not helped by the low humidity levels in the building. The bellows are leaking in places and there has been some water damage prior to the re-roofing of the Church. It's estimated that it could cost in excess of £30,000 to put everything right and to make a few more additions to what is often regarded as one of the finest organs in Wales.
That's the bad news! The good news is that we have already got £21,624 pledged for the work, thanks to a legacy of £10,000 from the late Dr Marjorie James and a gift of £9,224 from the Mumbles Old age Welfare Association from Mrs Miri Clement. We also have a further £2,400 from last year's sponsored Hymnathon and a donation of £4,000 from the 2019 Mumbles Music Festival.
Parts of the organ are 146 years old. It was first installed into a purpose built chamber in 1873 as a gift of the Crawshay family, who were wealthy industrialists in Merthyr Tydfil and had a summer residence in Langland. The organ was built by Robert Posthill of York and some of his Victorian pipework is still in use today.
In 1916 it was greatly enlarged and moved to where it is now housed - the gallery north of the chancel. This work was overseen by Peter Conacher, a well known organ builder in Huddersfield.
The instrument has been rebuilt several times since. The last major restoration was in 1998 and was completed by Daniel's of Clevedon at a cost of £105,000. In 2009 a new digital unit was added to enlarge the pedal organ, giving it a cathedral like rumble!
We hope that much of the further funding we need will come in through grants and fundraising at this year's Mumbles Festival of Music & the Arts. This and the project itself will be overseen by our directors of music and by a small committee of helpers.
We are around £8,000 short to complete this work. Though we don't intend asking Church members to dip into their pockets again, which they did so generously for the restoration appeal, any contributions, large or small will be gratefully received.
'Loud organs His glory forthtell in deep tone'