Breaking: Famous organ builder goes bust

Mander Organs, which rebuilt the great instruments at St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall (pictured) has gone into bankruptcy.
Here’s the official notice:
Mander Organs Ltd profoundly regrets to announce that, owing to cashflow difficulties and the inability to secure sufficient work, the company has ceased trading as of Monday 27.vii.2020. The management and staff would like to express their gratitude to our clients and friends for the loyalty and support they have given over the years, and particularly in the last few difficult months. Our affairs have been placed in the hands of an independent insolvency practitioner, Insolve Plus Ltd, to whom all enquiries should be addressed.”
John Pike Mander explains:
It is with great sadness that I have to confirm the closing of Mander Organs and its bankruptcy. You will not have difficulty in anticipating my own sadness, annoyance and great disappointment.
When I gave the firm to the workforce in the form of an Employee Ownership Trust on the 1st of November 2018, it had a year’s worth of work (one contract was signed shortly after the handover) and £93k of cash in the bank. One would have thought that would be an adequate basis for the firm to launch to new heights. It was well equipped with some machinery not found elsewhere in the UK and I think I can say it had a halfway decent reputation. It also had an intelligent workforce, both regarding their work in the company and their individual outside interests.
But, 15 months later, the money in the bank was spent and they asked for (and got) a £15k loan from me to tide them over. Unfortunately, it was not enough. I don’t really know what went wrong, but it looks as it it may have something to do with eyes and balls, but I really don’t know.
I thought I had set up the ideal form for the future of the family firm, by establishing a different form of family. I offer my apologies to all our past clients. I offer my heartfelt condolences to my erstwhile colleagues. I hope you all find useful and enjoyable employment elsewhere. I also hope that once the understandable anger has subsided, you will remember the sometimes tough, but also enjoyable and rewarding times we have had together. On my side there were many, which I miss in retirement and now will miss so much more. There is little more I can say, but I feel a great deal more.

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    • Hugely sad and I am very grateful for the work done and the high standards set by the firm over many years. Many others will feel the same.

  • Would the current situation also have something to do with it: bread and butter jobs like tuning drying up? No matter it is deeply sad 🙁

  • I’m saddened beyond description but yet,, thankful that in my 18 years working with Virgil Fox I was present to, hear, the greatest organist and possibly one of the worlds greatest pipe organs, created by Mander both master and instrument together proclaiming the message of Jesus they were sent to give us. Thank you Mander, YOU built that organ and your inspired craftsmen made that day possible for me,,and the world. Your organs will become a legend like Virgil Fox, and will never be forgotten, not even for a moment. Be proud of your accomplishment and take heart by remembering those words, “To everything there is a season”

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