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Old 20th Jan 2018, 1:01 am   #1
trobbins
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Default Miller Organs from Norwich

I'll strike up a thread in the hope of gathering comments and info on Miller Organs "from Norwich" (given that the US has a pipe organ manufacturer of the same name).

In particular someone may have service manuals or schematics of the transistor based models, as there is a Norwich T model in Australia that is in excellent condition but could well do with a service sweep through. But in addition, it would be amazing to identify any documentation related to the early years of Miller Organs, including on valve based models.

Unfortunately the present Norwich Organs entity have no records of Miller Organ Company sales, and Millers ceased to build organs in Norwich during the early 70's, and production under different owners finished a couple of years later. Early company paperwork doesn't appear to have been retained during stressful times, as the original company went into liquidation in the middle 60's. And there seem to be a few strange stories on-line of later owners.

Many will recall Lucien's amazing thread on a very hectic and edge-of-chair 5 day restoration and relocation of a Miller Classic IV, culminating in a recital. https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=121108

The Norwich T model I've seen has a similar english oak frame, but with stops grouped on the sides, and all the electronics are now sandwiched in to the rear. The only 'documentation' surviving with this organ is a spare parts note, which lists 4 transistor based models.

It appears that there was an international sales effort starting 1951 in to british commonwealth (or at least military administered) regions, as many Australian newspapers ran the same storyline in mid 1951, and that continued a bit with an article on 'silent teaching'.

This link shows a 1952 advert in the Musical Times journal.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/935223?...n_tab_contents

Ciao, Tim
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 7:00 am   #2
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I used to have a two channel valve amplifier from a Miller organ. It was constructed on a 1" ply baseboard with a separate power supply for each channel and a pair of KT88s in each output stage with quality Gardners transformers. It sounded amazing when coupled with my NAD 3020 used as a pre-amp. It was a very well made piece of kit.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 9:59 am   #3
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I sometimes play the organ at a local village church. It used to be a Miller 'English', one January a few years back I sat behind the keyboard and realised it had been replaced by a modern digital Allen!

It had been vaguely talked about, but no-one told me it was about to happen.

Timing was bad as a Miller collector from Germany had got in touch with me and wanted a picture!

I used to like the tone of the Miller, but years of living in such a cold and damp environment were taking their toll on its tuning and stability.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 10:08 am   #4
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

When I saw the title of the thread, I thought it was an FCS transport request!

Mental images of Lucien's great effort came to mind.

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Old 20th Jan 2018, 10:35 am   #5
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Sounds like you may have this amp which is KT88 and Gardners OT - it is the main amp in that Norwich T, and may have been common to the transistor models.

It seems that the earliest Miller organ were based on Constant Martin's scheme from the Clavioline, and referred to as the Martinette from that origin.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 11:29 am   #6
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

As a former resident of Norwich, who still has relatives living there, I have no recollection of this company. Where were they located?
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 11:47 am   #7
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Triton Hill according to pic 5 in post 1.

Edit: Which doesn't exist, according to Google maps.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 12:01 pm   #8
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I've checked street maps going back to 1905 and can find no trace of it. I've certainly never heard of it.

Old phone boks maybe?
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 12:06 pm   #9
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

It should be Timber Hill

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/File:I...IF-Miller2.jpg
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 12:40 pm   #10
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

One recollection is that they started up shortly after World War II in an old outside-work factory which had belonged to Norman & Beard (accomplished pipe organ manufacturers) in Timberhill. That would not be inconsistent with a presence at British Industries fair (30 Apr to 11 May) 1951.

It seems that St. George RC Church, Sprowston Road, Norwich, still has its historic Miller organ (although long replaced) which is a large 3 manual Miller organ installed in 1962, and claimed to be one of the largest electronic organs built so far (572 generators, ten ranks, and had two specially-designed horns with eight-foot openings built into the church).
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 12:50 pm   #11
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Graham, that graces guide image is dated 1949.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 12:53 pm   #12
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Indeed, but I don't think there is or ever was a Triton Hill in Norwich. Looks like a misprint in the original article.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 11:36 pm   #13
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Graham, it would appear that Timberhill was a parish name from when St.John's Timberhill church was built in 1832. The link indicates that Osborne's Buildings were on the east side of 160 Oak St in Norwich, and that aligns with google maps and the nearby St. Martin at Oak Wall Lane reference (it looks like any old buildings along that lane have been demolished if you use google street view).
http://www.origins.org.uk/genuki/NFK.../yards.shtml#O

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Old 21st Jan 2018, 12:09 am   #14
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Timber Hill (two words), previously Timberhill Street, existed and still exists.

http://www.georgeplunkett.co.uk/Norwich/tel.htm#Timbe

Osborne Square with Osborne's Building, was on the East side of Timber Hill.

Sources "The Old Courts and Yards of Norwich" by Frances and Michael Holmes and 1905 OS Map.

Oak Street is a completely different place, with similarly named Osborne's Yards leading off it.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 3:02 am   #15
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

The recollection (by Ralph Bootman - but just heresay at the moment) about initially using a factory from the old Norman and Beard company is consistent - the linked history identifies that firm as having somewhat extensive buildings on St. Stephens Rd, which was just to the west of Timberhill St. It sounds like that general area suffered much damage during 1942, so I guess that recollection would also be consistent with Osborne Buildings which would seem to be just a bit to the NE.

http://moothallorgan.co.uk/history-of-norman-beard-ltd/

I can't locate Osborne Square on the 25 inch map below, but it seems to be west of Farmer Ave (perhaps between Timberhill St and Farmer Ave). I don't have access to your reference sources - are you confirming that "Osborne's Buildings" was on Osborne Square?

http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom...layers=168&b=1
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 11:01 am   #16
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I write only about the Grace's Guide advert linked to in post #9. This gives an address of Osborne Buildings, Timber Hill, Norwich. This clearly indicates that Osborne Buildings was "on" or if you like "off" Timber Hill.

Turning to "Kelly's Directory of Norfolk" dated 1900, this gives the following info:-

Timber Hill street,

EAST SIDE

2. Barker Mrs Angus registry office for servants.
2. Field Frederick, wood carver Palmer Thomas, smith.
4. Gardeners' Arms Public House Edward Wickham.
6. Browne Charles Frederick Hair Dresser. *
8. Bamber John, boot and shoe manufacturer.
10. Day Mrs Mary, greengrocer.
.......here is Osborne Square..........
12. Smith John, china dealer.
14. Mounser William, cutler.
........here is Mounser's yard........

* I remember this as a Fishing Tackle shop.

I think we can safely assume that Osborne Square and Osborne Buildings are the same place.

The Gardeners' Arms still exists and provides a useful datum point. Nowadays it is more commonly known as The Murder's Arms. It has been extended into the building next door (No. 6 and 8) which can clearly be identified by the jutting out upper floor with its three windows.

So by using Google Street View, George Plunkett's photographs and your large scale map you should be able to fix exactly where Osborne Buildings were.

Whether the company moved after 1949 and where to I don't know. Kelly's Directories were published up to the mid 1960's and may give the answer, as also will Norwich Telephone Area Telephone Directories covering the period up to the company's demise. The company may well have advertised in ecclesiastical journals.

I'd be grateful for any information regarding the Triton Hill address. I've never heard of it and can find no other references to it.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 11:24 am   #17
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Quote:
Originally Posted by Station X View Post
Kelly's Directories were published up to the mid 1960's...
I have a 1976 one so it was later than that, but they'd certainly ceased by 1980.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 11:50 am   #18
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I reckon Osborne Square was here. Compared to the old picture, No. 10 is obviously a new building, but the entrance to Osborne Square has been reproduced.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 12:51 pm   #19
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Quote:
Originally Posted by trobbins View Post

I can't locate Osborne Square on the 25 inch map below, but it seems to be west of Farmer Ave (perhaps between Timberhill St and Farmer Ave). I don't have access to your reference sources - are you confirming that "Osborne's Buildings" was on Osborne Square?

http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom...layers=168&b=1
The buildings with X in them have ground level access under. This puts Osborne Square access from Timberhill as the northernmost such on the east side. There's another way in from Farmer Ave as well.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 12:55 pm   #20
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Yup! The other two passages on the East side of Timber Hill gave access to Mounser's Yard and Star and Crown Yard. The second public house being The Star and Crown.
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