Situated in London’s Regent Street, in the home of the University of Westminster, the Fyvie Hall contains an organ by the John Compton Organ Company Ltd, London organ-builders who specialised in fitting instruments into tiny spaces. The gift of Lord Blanesburgh, it was installed during September 1934 in an enclosure behind oak panelling at the rear of the hall. Above the enclosure are eight Swell shutters, through which the sound emerges.
The detached console was connected to the organ by a large multi-core cable. The Fyvie Hall instrument, like the majority of Comptons, was designed as an ‘extension organ’ where a small number of ranks of pipes are electrically switched to create a larger number of stops at different pitches. Model organs were produced in their ‘Miniatura’ series; the Fyvie Hall is based on one of these, with the addition of a 80-pipe 16ft Tromba (trumpet) rank. The other ranks are an 8ft Open Diapason of 73 pipes, a 16ft Hohl Flute rank of 85 pipes and an 8ft Salicional rank of 85 pipes. These stand on a common windchest, each pipe being controlled by an individual pneumatic valve operated by an electromagnet. After decades out of use it has now been restored – original relays, magnets and wiring included – by the exceptionally patient and diligent Peter Hammond. I had the great pleasure of giving the inaugural recital on this remarkably effective organ on November 2nd.