Betty Returns


Betty stacked up in the North aisle waiting to be re-built

Betty stacked up in the North aisle waiting to be re-built

Nicholson Organ Builders returned to site at the end of July and they have been making short work of rebuilding Betty’s casings and installing the restored tracker action and sound boards. The structure has been reinforced and the Swell box rebuilt to overcome issues with maintenance and operation. Continue reading

St James and St John CE Primary School Visit

This past Tuesday Betty welcomed students from St James and St John Church of England Primary School, to learn about the organ, how it works and why it needs refurbishment. Mark James, the project animateur, explained the organ’s operation using small replica’s of the different types of organ pipes which make up Betty’s sound. The students asked numerous questions about the organ and it’s refurbishment before Mark did a demonstration playing March of the Magi by Théodore Dubios (1837-1924) and discussing how Dubois used the sustained high note to represent the Star of Bethlehem and what Dubois was trying to convey with the composition. Teachers, students and Mark were all pleased with a very engaging session.

Animateur, Mark James speaking to St James and St John CE Primary School

Animateur, Mark James speaking to St James and St John CE Primary School

Job Opportunity – Organ Project Animateur

Learning about pipes2

Job Opportunity Organ Project Animateur St John’s Church, Hyde Park, London W2, is seeking an Animateur to administer the outreach of the organ restoration project. The Animateur will develop, administrate, enable and deliver a series of Organ Project outreach events. The successful applicant will require Enhanced DBS disclosure. Remuneration: The package be calculated as 44 sessions at £200 per session, including travel, administration time, consumables, report-writing and documentation. This gives a total fixed fee of £8,800. Closing date for applications: 7th November 2014 Further information: St John’s Hyde Park, Hyde Park Crescent, London W2 2QD 020 7262 1732 HLFNL_CMYK

Betty is Saved! HLF Grant Success!


St John’s, Hyde Park Organ Restoration secures Heritage Lottery Fund investment

St John’s, Hyde Park in West London has received a confirmed grant of £325,725 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the organ restoration project, it was announced today. The project aims to restore the grade 2* listed Victorian organ and celebrate this valuable piece of heritage through musical projects and community events. The organ will be taken away to the workshop in January and be reinstalled in June, ready for a full launch and celebratory events in the Autumn. Continue reading

The Long Summer

It’s a long summer of waiting at St John’s.  Our application was handed in to the HLF headquarters at Sloane Square on time as you can see:


And now we’re looking forward to September when we’ll hear whether we’ve secured our funding.  We’re very much looking forward to a visit from the HLF next week when we can finally introduce them to Betty and give them a little taste of her magic.  In the meantime we’ve been putting together some prom concerts for the Autumn (which you can see on our events page) and making sure everything’s ready for when we hear.

Betty Fashion Shoot!

Fashion-Art magazine Very popped in yesterday for an exclusive shoot of Betty, with a backstage pass moving from her glorious front pipes to the mysterious, complex engineering behind. Organ scholar Nick Miller got his own photo time with aspiring organ student Lukas…


Very photographer Tomek with Lukas and organ scholar Nick Miller

Very’s editor Uscha Pohl is preparing an article for an edition in the Autumn helping Betty connect with the art and fashion world, which has always been a dream for her! But hopefully this will also draw attention to the genuinely impressive combination of engineering, design, music and aesthetics that goes into organ building, and especially our wonderful heritage. 

More pipework paint testing…

Our second organ pipe conservator has been in last weekend and the director of music managed to take a quick photo of some of the testing she was doing on the dirt and varnish to see if a restoration of the original paintwork is going to be possible.


Click on the image for a close-up look…

You can see in the centre where she has rediscovered some of the red paint work. Her report should be in by the end of the week and we’re very excited to read it. The hope is that Betty will get a make over to match her restored sound and going back to the original paint work is definitely our route one approach!