Our newly restored 19th Century Barrel Organ is now back at the museum. Come to hear the barrel organ play any number of traditional melodies on one or more of its three barrels.
Gordon Bartlet, who kindly financed the restoration of the organ will demonstrate it for you. He will be in the museum every Tuesday in March (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th) and April (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) 3.00 — 4.00pm.
A Selection of Melodies:
- Handels Water Music
- The Dorsetshire March
- The Bollita
- Lady Digby’s Minuet
- Evening Hymn
- Lording Mornington
Gordon says “Vintage machinery and many varieties of music have always been a passion of mine, so mechanical music ticks both boxes and has lead to a collection of antique musical boxes and similar items. With this background it was sad to see a 19th century barrel organ lying silent in the Dorset County Museum, so I resolved to investigate its history and to see if it could be made to work again.
Apart from once being in Puddletown church and then Bere Regis church much of the organ’s background was unknown. Delving into more detail uncovered a fascinating history from when it was built by John Gray of London in 1839 to when it was bought and subsequently donated to the museum in 1935 by Miss Agnes Debenham of the Debenham Stores family.
On the technical side the organ was very complete and original, but with damage to the operating mechanism and to many of the pipes. Making it play again required the combined efforts of myself and Mr John Budgen, a retired professional organ builder.”
Demonstrations at the museum every Tuesday in March (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th) and April (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) from 3.00pm – 4.00pm. Normal admissions apply.