The Hooglandse Kerk is already home to an exceptional Van Hagerbeer organ, however the church also wanted a large, English Romantic organ to accompany the choir (which sings much English choral repertoire) and to contribute to the promotion of Leiden as the "City of organs".
In 1991 St. Mark's Church, Claughton, Birkenhead closed and the 1892 Father Willis organ was rescued - even as the building was being demolished - by The Scottish Heritage Organs Trust following which it was put into storage and until a suitable home could be found. After two changes of storage venues the organ was purchased for use as a house organ and was moved to Holland.
This instrument is a fine example from the period during which Father Willis brought back much of the timbre of his earlier organs, which had been suppressed through the 1880s subject to the fashions of the day: The reeds in particular are, tonally, extremely well-developed and exhibit the 'Klang' for which the Company's reeds became well known.
The Father Willis organ has been completely restored, retaining all of the original pipework, soundboards and actions (Great & Swell actions being an early form of the 1889-Patent 'Willis Lever').The original files detailing the history of this organ shew that the specification was somewhat restricted in 1892 by financial constraints at the time which explains the absence of a Voix Céleste and the prepared for Pedal Ophicleide: in order to address these omissions, additions to the instrument - made along standard Willis lines of the day include a new 16ft Double Open Diapason to the Great organ, a new 32ft Double Open Wood (downward extension of the original 16ft Open Wood) and a new 16ft Double Trumpet to the Great, which is also made available on the Pedal organ as a 'Trombone' in the absence of an independent Pedal reed.
The Specification of the organ is now as follows;
(Tuning: Equal Temperament - Willis Scale) Pitch: C=523Hz @ 60°F
Claribel Flute 8
Viola da Gamba 8
Flûte Harmonique 4
Piccolo Harmonique 2
Corno di Bassetto 8
Swell to Choir
Double Open Diapason 16
Open Diapason No:1 8
Open Diapason No:2 8
Hohl Flute 8
Double Trumpet 16
Swell to Great
Lieblich Bourdon 16
Open Diapason 8
Lieblich Gedact 8
The Bearers are papered and the Slides & Upperboards are fitted
The surviving pneumatic tubing had been crushed flat in storage and much had also been replaced with oversized plastic hose. The tubing for the Swell to Great Coupler and the Derivation Machines has therefore all now been made new
The Keyboards had been badly stored in Holland causing the
key bodies to warp and to lose their ivories
The completed instrument