William Drake Limited is proud to have been responsible for the cleaning and overhaul of the 1882 John Nicholson organ in the St Christoforus kerk in Schagen (The Netherlands).
The project took from the beginning of February until the middle of June 2015, during which at least part of the organ has remained playable for services.
The organ has 31 stops shared over three manuals and pedals. The specification can be seen on the following website: Nicholson-Schagen
All the pipework, bar the largest Pedal pipes were taken off the soundboards and cleaned. Small repairs were carried out where necessary. The mixtures required some work to remedy a degree of collapse at the mouths and feet due to rough tuning. The secondary pneumatic assistance to the bottom octaves of the Great and Swell were reconditioned. The Pedal Trombone 16′ (originally Hill 1858 and added to the organ in 1981) was re-conditioned and the shallots re-leathered. The reeds were cleaned, taking care not to disturb the regulation of the voicing. Minor issues with both stop, and key action were remedied on site, leaving the instrument playing like a dream. A new MDF blower box was made to replace a very worm-eaten old one. The opportunity was taken to redesign the air intakes in order to further cut down blower noise.
The flue pipes were checked for correct speech and loudness, and small adjustments were made where appropriate. One can quite safely say, that the tonal balances within this organ are very close to their original, as the mixtures are still cone-tuned and thereby very much bound to their original pitch (about A450Hz).
The instrument is remarkably well suited to its present environment, considering the fact that it was originally voiced for a Church with quite different acoustics (St Mary Magdalene Worcester).
Advisers to the project were:
R.W. van Straten, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed
Ton van Eck, K.K.O.R (Katholieke Klokken en Orgel Raad)
We like to thank Fr Eduard Molzer, the organist Tjeerd van der Ploeg and the parishioners for making this project and our stay in Schagen such a joy.