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pipes and actions

Laurence Elvin, 1995, ISBN 0 9500049 8 7, 408 pages, hardback
Bishop and Son, Organ Builders, 1984, ISBN 0 9500049 5 2, 388 pages, hardback
Family Enterprise, the story of some North Country Organ Builders, 1986, ISBN 0 9500049 6 0, 196 pages, hardback
Also author of The Harrison Story (1973), Forster and Andrews, Organ Builders, and other organ and history related books

Laurence Elvin was a local historian based in Lincoln, who has contributed a significant amount of research through his numerous self-published editions. His background in local history means that he was not afraid to include humourous tales and other information academics might have left out, but his books were always thoroughly researched with a wealth of information drawn from ledgers, parish and company records. Specifications abound, frequently with facsimiles of original leaflets, and each volume has a large number of photographs.

Earlier volumes concentrate on the work of one organ-builder. Forster and Andrews of Hull received two volumes, one dedicated to their smaller organs, and Harrison's and Bishop's histories both ran from the founding of their firms to the (then) present day. Elvin's latter two volumes were more of a pot pourri, a collection of material none of which was substantial enough to warrant its own volume, but all of which deserved publication.

Family Enterprise includes information on the various Nicholsons, Cousans of Lincoln, and various other organ-builders of Lincoln, York and Newcastle. Of them all, this is perhaps the most bitty volume. Pipes and Actions, although including information on even more builders across the Midlands and beyond, feels more coherent, perhaps due to improvements in typesetting that allow photographs alongside the text. Chapter XV of this book is unashamedly titled "Miscellaneous" - a tying up of organic loose ends! As with all of Elvin's books, the rich variety of information make these volumes to dip into on a regular basis.

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