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British Organ Builders

Martin Goetze & Dominic Gwynn

Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn is a firm of six craftsmen dedicated to the production of pipe organs of high quality in classical styles. There are three partners, Martin, Dominic and Edward Bennett, and usually four other craftsmen. All three partners are full time organbuilders. Generally speaking Martin and Dominic alternate responsibility for the design, supervision and finishing of each project, though the advantage of a small firm with three committed and experienced partners is that much of the responsibility is shared.

The firm was set up by Martin Goetze and Dominic Gwynn in September 1980, to start with in a small workshop in Northampton, and since March 1985 in a purpose built workshop at Welbeck near Worksop in North Nottinghamshire, on the northern edge of Sherwood Forest. The aim is to work with a small team of committed organbuilders, flexible and with a complete range of skills, built around the permanent input of the skills and experience of the three partners. We are committed to training the next generations of organbuilders. We have trained two English organbuilders, Stuart Dobbs and James Collier, one Australian, Timothy McEwen, and provided further experience for eight young German, Swiss, Latvian and Spanish organbuilders.

The workshop is part of a group of craft workshops at Welbeck, provided by the Harley Foundation, a charitable trust set up by a legacy from the 7th Duke of Portland to promote the crafts. We are fortunate to be able to work in beautiful rural surroundings, in a modern purpose-built workshop, surrounded by some of the finest craftsmen and women in the country. Between 1985 and 2003 we benefitted particularly from the experience and advice of our neighbours, Derek Adlam, doyen of early keyboard instrument makers, and Bernd Fischer, one of the finest makers of early keyboard instruments in the world.

What we do

We make all the parts
of the organ, apart from the blower, in our own workshop. We use English oak and Scots pine, and cow-bone and ebony for the keys. The metal is 17 to 30% tin, according to the information from the pipes we are following as a model. The workshop environment is controlled for temperature and humidity, so that the organ can be made at the average temperature of its new home. The wood is air-dried, firstly outside for one to two years, and then in the workshop to the level of the building where the organ will eventually live.

We aim to follow museum standards of restoration. We are Business Members of the Institute of British Organbuilding, and are members of the United Kingdom Institute of Conservation. In 1999 we were shortlisted for the Jerwood Conservation Award for our work on the 1826 Elliot organ at Belton Hall. We have worked for the National Trust, the Royal Collection and for a number of other collections and museums.

We look towards the best continental practice as a benchmark against which to set our own standards of craftsmanship. The three partners became interested in the organ in the late 1960s, and were among those who looked to Holland, Germany and Scandinavia for inspiration. The connection was made easier thanks to family connections in Holland and Germany. The development of our organbuilding has been influenced throughout by visits to Holland and discussions with Dutch friends, later extended to Germany, Spain and Italy.

Many of our organs have been made for use by professional musicians in the field of the Early Music. We look to instrument makers of the Early Music world for inspiration, advice and encouragement. The constructive support of musicians in the Early Music world has been a vital influence on our attitude to our work.

We conduct research into old organs and make it available in photocopied reports. The Harley Monographs are technical reports on organs restored or researched by ourselves. A list with prices is available from us, or from the Organ Literature Foundation. Our research is also publicized widely as lectures and articles, especially through the conferences and Journal of the British Institute of Organ Studies, but also in the Organists' Review and the Organ Yearbook.

Martin Goetze and Dominic Gywnn, 1 East Workshops, Wellbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England S80 3LW
Telephone & Fax: 01909 485635                       Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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