Historic 200-year-old organ in Welshpool coaxed back into life at restoration appeal launch

Reporter:

Elgan Hearn

LIFE HAS been coaxed back into a historic organ that is more than 200 years old as it was played once again, to launch an appeal for its restoration.

Renowned international organist James Parsons entertained the audience with a performance of organ music at Christ Church in Welshpool. He was there to launch the restoration appeal for the William Gray organ that was built in 1813 and is registered as an instrument of historic importance

Natalie Bass, who owns the former church, said: “We’re not sure how much the restoration is going to cost. We’ve had initial assessments, but it’s a case of how long is a piece of string?

“It’s been untouched for nearly 20 years, since the church closed. And we need to get it fully tuned and catch up with 20 years worth of maintenance and get it to a decent playable standard again.”

“The organ restoration is registered as Christ Church Welshpool charity. The recital was the start of the appeal in a low key way, to get the ball rolling.”

The organ is seen as of historical significance as it was built during the Napoleonic Wars by William Gray, of London. In 1884 the organ was moved to Christ Church from St Mary’s Church in the town.

Listed as an instrument of historic importance with the British Institute of Organ Studies, it retains the majority of its original features.

Natalie added: “It was incredible to hear it played, the organ has been silent until James coaxed it back to life. The building has got good acoustics, it’s a well made organ and it still sounded majestic.

“We are hugely grateful to James for freely and enthusiastically giving up his time to play for us.”

Natalie and her family have lived at the former church since 2003 and the organ restoration is only part of the plans for the church. Restoring the nave and opening it to the public is also part of the plan for the former church.

Email:

elgan.hearn@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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