Meticulous restoration work has begun on the 45 display pipes of the 1877 Hollins Pipe Organ which is being restored for The Wesley Centre, at the premises of specialist ecclesiastical painting firm, Bernard Watson in Preston.

Watson's have discovered that the original painting and guilding of the pipework was undertaken in Belgium (apparently it was easier to ship them to specialists there across the North Sea as the organ builders Forster & Andrews were based in Hull). Bernard Watsons have painstakingly chemically analysed each of the many paint pigments originally used almost 150 years ago to ensure the true colour palette is adopted in the restorative process; they now have the formulae for each of the paints mixed, and the many decorative stencils needed have been cut and very carefully prepared.  It has been particularly surprising to reveal the 'depth' and richness of the various colours utilised.  This is work in progress, but a couple of the partly restored pipes can be seen in the attached pictures, set against the original pipework, first decorated in 1876/7.

There are four ways in which you can help to support the conservation and restoration of this magnificent pipe organ:

  1. Sponsor a pipe: for £100, make a gift by sponsoring one or more of the 2,500 individual organ pipes and have your name beautifully inscribed for posterity on a dedicated tablet adjacent to the organ
  2. Sponsor a whole ‘rank’ of pipes: for £1,000, make a gift by sponsoring one of the 31 complete sets of pipes within the instrument, for example, the Harmonic Tromba, the Hohl Flute, or the romantic Orchestral Oboe (see here for the full list) and have your name beautifully inscribed for posterity on a dedicated tablet located close to the organ
  3. Sponsor the conservation and restoration of the 45 decorated front pipes and 10 large timber side pipes: this highly skilled conservation and restoration work is being undertaken by one of Britain's finest specialist organ pipe decorators and craftsmen; the richly decorated front pipes will soar almost to the ceiling of the Wesley Centre and will forever remain one of the most visible aspects of the organ, immediately upon entering the Wesley Centre. This painstaking and precious conservation work will cost £25,000 to complete. If you’d be interested in donating 50% or more of this cost, your own name, personal dedication or memorial to a loved one can be forever inscribed on the front of the organ on a beautiful brass plaque.
  4. Sponsor more than 50% of the total cost: by making a major gift for the organ restoration and rebuilding, the whole organ will be named for example as followsd: "Restoration of this historic 1877 Hollins Pipe Organ in 2019/2020, was made possible through the generosity of [name] in memory of [name]". An especially inscribed plaque will be permanently affixed to the organ console for posterity.