Richard Bower has been an organ builder since 1969, when
he joined a small firm in Norwich after graduating from
the Royal College of Music.
He became a partner in
the firm during his apprenticeship to E & W Storr and
became sole proprietor after three years.
building his first completely new organ in the mid 1970's,
the name of the business was changed to R. A. J. Bower &
Company. In 1986, the firm moved from a small workshop to
much larger premises in Wroxham, Norfolk. Ten years later,
we moved again to Weston Longville 10 miles west of
Norwich. Our name we simplified to Bower & Company.
Our 6000 sq. ft. workshop is larger than before and
is a purpose conversion of a long barn built in the 1950's.
It has a separate section for our woodworking machinery,
a main workshop and a large storage and erection area. Voicing
is done in an adjoining building.
In recent years
we have built more than a dozen new mechanical organs, carried
out major renovations of three organs of around fifty stops
each & undertaken mechanical reconstructions of up to
35 organs. This website features some of our work done since
1990, a period which includes the restoration of three substantial
Hill organs from the 1870's and the construction of
three Chair organs.
Bower like Benjamin Britten before him, was educated at Gresham's
School in Norfolk and at The Royal College of Music. But he
did not become a composer of music but rather one of organs.
After studying piano with Anthony Hopkins and Alan Rowlands,
and organ with John Birch and Denys Darlow, Richard embarked
on a path of being both organ builder and organist.
Unable to get a standard apprenticeship with the large organ
building firms of the day, because of his now being overqualified
and too old at 21, he joined the Norfolk partnership of E. &
W. Storr. Seeing the aptitude for the work and the enthusiasm
of their newest partner gave Edward the impetus to retire. His
example was followed by Wilfrid a couple of years later and
the business was continued in Richards' capable hands.
By this time Richard had learned the basics of the trade
and gained voicing skills (which is now his his personal forte)
with Dennis Thurlow.
Since those early days, the business
of RAJ Bower & Company has developed considerably, with
new organs now incorporating Richard's own house style of
wind control and wood key coverings being among the more obvious
He incorporates his unique voicing style with
bright mixtures and warm and exciting diapason tones. On the
restoration front, he has developed a wealth of knowledge regarding
Holdich instruments, particularly again in the area of voicing.
The business became IBO accredited with the formation of
Richard has been described as 'a
perfectionist in the musical and mechanical arts which combine
in organ building' and as 'a fluent exciting and implacable
professional for whom the objective is all'.
his continuingly busy schedule, Richard still makes time for
several recitals each year; he particularly enjoys giving recitals
not only in his home county of Norfolk, but especially on his 'own'
instruments whether built or restored or just on the tuning
round of his own Company.
Our slogan “Always at your Service”
was much used in the 1990s but is still as alive today with
several hundred organs being played every Sunday that have
been tuned and worked on by us.
We are familiar with
of all kinds of organ systems, mechanical, pneumatic and
electrical, both with traditional and with solid state switching.
This service includes a full technical check-up of
the organ inclusive of the motor, an adjustment of all
tracker actions, tuning and, if necessary, re-voicing
of certain pipes.
This service includes cleaning the organ and all
pipes, replacement of broken parts, enlargement of your
memory system and carefully re-voicing and tuning.
Our modern policy is that regular tuning contracts are
a thing of the past though we do expect loyalty from
our customers and our guarantees are normally tenable
only if we are the sole tuners of the organ.
To use our services is simple. Call us when you need
us. If you wish us to repair, tune or service your organ,
ring and arrange a date for us to visit. If you want
us to come every so often ring us every so often.
The reason is simple – organs only go out of tune for
a reason – such as dirt, disturbance, or a change in
temperature or humidity. Tuning an organ at a non sensible
temperature is silly – unless for a specific occasion
or reason; and if so done it will need retuning when
the normal temperature or condition returns.
We prefer to tune and maintain when required for that
special occasion, or when the conditions are right and
the tuning has begun to wander and musical ears feel
it needs attention. When we do tune we prefer to take
the time necessary to make the tuning as correct and
tuneful as is practical so to do, adjusting pipe speech
when sensible so to do. A visit of 2 hours once every
third year should yield far better tuning and adjustment
that annual or more visits of 1hr.
of course move from Summer to Winter and so need more
regular attention. We have many places we visit 2, 3
and 4 times a year when so asked to do.
and maintenance is done under the name of Bower Organ
Tuning and most visits are now made personally by Richard
Bower to ensure customer satisfaction.
We can also tune your instrument to different temperament
and give further information about it. Our regular tuning
customers use not only Equal Temperament, but also Young’s
Temperament , Valotti, and also our rediscovered “Holdich”
temperament. We have tuned to Werckmeister III and Kirnberger
II and are always willing to use other temperaments
when correct so to do.
For further information and questions please contact
We are a business member of the
Institute of British Organ
Building who accredited us in all categories of organ
building at the time of our assessment. Since then they
have introduced a specific Pneumatic category. We do of
course undertake pneumatic restoration when required and
are highly familiar with most Victorian systems and especially
with what we consider to be the finest, the "Norwich"
exhaust pneumatic action developed by Norman and Beard.
We have overhauled, re-leathered and restored many pneumatic
We have a special interest in the organs of G. M.
Holdich and his organs at Easton on the Hill, Wiveton, Frilsham,
Laxton and Framlingham Pigot have been restored by us.
Tuesday 6th September Cromer Parish Church 8 p.m.
Saturday 17th September
St Nicholas Church,
Organ recital by
Organist at Brentwood Cathedral
includes music by
Mendelssohn, Wolstenhome, Gigout, Guilmant and Henery Smart
Addmission, including interval drink and light
refreshment, Tickets £4.00 in advance from the Dereham Parish Office
01362 693143 or £5.00 on the door