" But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, 'Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. ”
( Matthew 14:27 )
20 August 10th Sunday after Trinity
St Peter & St Paul
8am - Holy Communion
10am - Parish Communion
6pm - Taize Prayer and Music
St Mary's Ballinger
As built by James Jepson Binns of Leeds and installed in 1916, the organ has two manuals of 5 octave compass, and a radiating and concave pedal board of 30 notes.
There are 21 speaking stops, with some borrowing, and as originally built, was provided with a number of fixed of coupler drawstops and combination pistons.
In 2006 major restoration was carried out by David Wells Ltd. of Liverpool, with the financial help of the Friends of Great Missenden Parish Church - at that time, the decision was taken that the restoration should be without significant change to the mechanism, so the action remained as installed - the original fully tubular pneumatic Binns patent action, together with some mechanical elements, such as the combination pedals and drawstop mechanisms.
By late 2015/2016, it was clear that some major issues were becoming manifest in the operation of the action, with more than an octave and a half of the Swell organ in particular often unusable, because the notes were not sounding. Investigations revealed that other odd notes were also not working - in one case, a length of the lead tubing for that note was found reting on the top of the bellows, where it had perished and fractured, so fallen away from the rest of the length of tubing. Advice was sought from the Diocesan Organ Adviser and from suitable organ builders, and while it might have been possible to restore the original mechanism, it was felt that this would only defer further future significant expenditure because most similar instruments have been converted to electro-pneumatic action to avoid the same issues - accordingly, the number of builders speciallising in purely pneumatic actions is ever reducing as there are fewer such instruments, so the cost of such a specialist inevitably rises.
The other issue from a maintenance point of view is that the chamber is very cramped, as there is a lot of instrument in a fairly small space, and the pneumatic and mechanical elements took up a lot of this space, leading to the situation where some parts of the instrument were literally inaccessible without dismantling other major parts of the instrument. This also applied in particular to some of the most critical parts of the pneumatic action, where a great many tubes converged, and where any attempt to work on one would almost inevitably lead to disturbing another, leading to further potential problems.
The decision was thus taken, to convert to electro-pneumatic action, which removed a lot of the now more problematic parts of the original mechanism altogether, while retaining the final stage of the pneumatic action, so that when a note is pressed, the corresonding valve opens to let the air into the pipe(s) exactly as before, so there is no change at all to the speaking of the instrument - the conversion is a replacement only of the linkages by which pressing a note causes a pipe to sound.
|The specification of the organ - the speaking stops remain as originally built|
|Swell Organ (Left Jamb)
Tremulant to Swell
Mixture 3 Rank
Viol D'Orchestre 8
Vox Angelica 8
Rohr Flute 8
Geigen Principal 8
|Great Organ (Right Jamb)
No1 Diapason 8
No2 Diapason 8
|Couplers (Left Jamb)
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
|Pedal Organ (Right Jamb)
Bass Flute 8
Octave Bass 8
Sub Bass 16
Contra Bass 16
Harmonic Bass 32
|Octave Couplers (placed centrally, above the Swell manual)
Swell to Great Sub-Octave
Swell to Great Octave
|Fixed mechanical couplings as originally built:|
|Swell Combination Pedals
(R to L from left of the Swell Pedal)
|General Combination Pedals
Acting on Great and Pedal divisions
(L to R from Right of the Swell Pedal)
|Playing aids provided in the 2016 conversion:|
|The original action was Binn's own patent tubular pneumatic, and the couplers, Swell pedal and combination pedals were all mechanical
As of 2016, the action is now electro-pneumatic, the stop mechanisms are directly operated by electrical solonoids - the Swell pedal remains the original mechanical action
|Further information about the organ can be found from the British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS) - the relevant page is their record No N09605|