Pipe organ restoration project for the Buca Protestant Church

Organs is often the focal point of churches and music from these instruments is considered the best and most traditional backing for hymns which are the essence of communal Christian worship across whole series of denominations and traditions.

The former ‘All Saints’ Anglican Church of Boudja / Buca has existed in its current building since 1865, replacing the humbler building of 1838 as recorded in the stone plaque on its external wall. The manual bellow driven organ, was donated to the church in 1922 by the Rees family as gratitute for safe deliverance during the ‘Great war’, as recorded by the metal plaque on the front of this instrument. The church lost the vast majority of its congregation following the huge disputions leading up to the Great Fire of Smyrna of September 1922. The relict Anglican, mostly British origin Levantine community trickled back in small numbers in subsequent years but demographics meant it was a dying community who continued with gradual emigration as business conditions never returned to pre WWI days. The Buca church had its final service around 1960, deconsecrated and shortly later following fears the building would collapse through neglect and donated the building and grounds to the local municipality around 1964 which then used it for a variety of uses such as a wedding reception venue. In 2000-01 the municipality donated this church to a local Turkish Baptist church which has since done repairs and maintains cemetery security that suffered heavily in the 36 years the building was not used as a church and around 1991 the local municipality built a basket-ball court on the front section of the cemetery, destroying the tombs there in the process.

Church organs are complex pieces of machinary and spare parts are effectively not available in the country. The organ in this church is an important physical connection to its earlier congregation whose descendants though living in other countries are often still very attached to their heritage and this church and the restoration of this instrument will help complete the restoration of the overall church which continues to provide spiritual solace to a whole new generation. The experienced organ restoration team led by Tarkan Sendal have done a thorough investigation of the current state of the organ, have done costings of spare parts and labour involved in the various aspects of this instrument and the details are outlined in the pdf to the bottom of this page. Both the team the Buca Baptist Church thank you in advance for any contribution you can provide and they are happy to furnish you with additional or technical information if you so require. Tarkan Sendal has also contacted the original organ builders (J.W. Walker & Sons) of London who are still trading and were able to provide scans from the original sale and servicing documents helping to specify and quantify for the project at hand: shop book / order book / metal book:

Istanbul Pipe Organ Team: from left to right: Ayham Mallisho: Visual Editor and Assistant Technician, Tarkan Sendal: Founder and Chief Technician, Ahmet Sert: Mechanical Engineer and Material Supplier, Aras Ali: Visual Editor and Assistant Technician.

Exterior and façade of the organ

Pedalboard, clearly seen it needs a good wood-working maintenance

Left-side registerboard, “Stopped Diapason” and “Great to Pedal” knobs were changed unreasonably.

Right-side registerboard

The builder’s nameplate

The dedication plate

Manual to pedal coupling action, new trackers showing some maintenances were made in the past.

Keyboards and keyboard coupling action

Pedal action under pedal chest

Great keyboard’s roller-board, swell keyboard and keyboard coupling action

Swell keyboard action below the swell chest, broken trackers are clearly seen

Façade pipes of the organ

Exterior of the organ, the founder discusses with the Deacon of the Church.

Read the full report by the organ repair team here and how you could help in this restoration project - www.istanbulpipeorgan.com.