Care and Conservation


      St Mary, Rye, Sussex 1901
Norman & Beard restored by Nicholson

An Introduction to Organ Conservation and Restoration

BIOS includes amongst its activities efforts to preserve important historic organs in Great Britain. This document suggests which instruments may be worthy of such attention, and indicates ways in which their qualities may be preserved for the enjoyment of generations to come.

BIOS believes that the musical success of a good organ is due to a happy combination of the builder's skill and a particular date of construction. Subsequent alterations to keep pace with changes in fashion, whether to pipes or mechanism, will weaken the builder's original concept and impair the artistic value of the instrument. Where an instrument is unaltered, any alteration should be avoided; where alterations have already been made, they should be reversed if reasonably possible. If restoration to the original state is impossible, the instrument may be restored to a chosen former state, usually decided as being that state when the organ last represented, in a coherent and recognisable way, the work of one builder or school of builders.

This document does not attempt to deal with all the questions that may arise, nor can it be used as a set of hard and fast rules for all circumstances. However, it reflects the kind of attitudes that will help anyone contemplating the maintenance or repair of an historic instrument.



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