1956 - The Boston Enlargement

The back of the organ after the 1956 workBy the mid 1950s, the organ was giving trouble. Multiple water leaks had rained down on the organ from the roof above, introducing wind leaks to the organ. In addition, the pneumatic actions for the pedal pipes were failing and the wooden pipes in the case did not speak.

The work to rebuild the organ was entrusted to Richard Boston, who lived in the neighbouring parish of Owslebury. English organbuilding at this time usually concentrated on re-using second hand materials to create organs quickly and cheaply after the damage caused during the Second World War. Boston was unlikely to have gained much formal experience during his apprenticeship in the 1940s and while his work was clearly well-meaning, he seems to have allowed himself to be persuaded into doing work of an inappropriate kind. It is clear Boston was unable to grasp the need for tidy design and layout and could not quite rise to the standards of craftsmanship that distinguish proper musical instrument-making from general handymanship.

The Twyford organ was one of his more prominent works. The decision to keep Walker material and the mechanical key action was portrayed as sympathetic but was probably expedient. The tonal resources of the organ were enlarged, in the manner typical of the period, by rearranging some of the existing pipes and by adding further ranks, mostly of second-hand material, on subsidiary electric and electro-pneumatic chests. For example, the single rank of pipes forming the Great Bourdon 16' was made available through electric switchgear at several different pitches on both the Great and Pedal, the one row of pipes being controlled by no less than six stop-knobs. The console was remade, with new keys from a trade supplier. The connection between the new keys and the Swell Organ key action was notably crude, the arms of the metal square merely resting on leather strips glued to the ends of the keys.

The wind pressures were raised and the on-paper specification suggested an organ of considerable tonal resources which it never quite lived up to in the flesh.