13th July 2021

[The 1891 Harrison & Harrison in St Oswald’s church, Ravenstonedale]

Just back from a delightful trip to the Lake District. Holiday? No: signing-off an organ; something that the Covid months have made very difficult. The delightfully hidden village of Ravenstonedale, not far from Kendal, is blessed with a beautiful 1891 two-manual organ by Harrison & Harrison. Probably the dampest organ I’ve ever seen, it gave David Wells and his team some enormous challenges as they had never seen screws so destroyed by rust. But nothing would prevent them from carrying out a perfect restoration of this sturdy little instrument, which fills the village church with cathedralesque sounds. Actually this is the sixth organ I’ve signed off in recent weeks, as we emerge from Covid restrictions, others being at Corbridge (a scrupulous rebuild by Malcolm Lightbown), at Alderley Edge (equally good work by Andrew Sixsmith), at Chesterton, near Cambridge (a colourful new organ based on vintage pipework by Henry Groves & Son), the others being in Rochester and at St Mary Platt, mentioned in my last news item.

The console