History of St Mary’s Organ

The old organ rebuilt by Brindley and Foster in 1910 was intended to stand in the church,but an organ chamber was given and built so that from the start it had to be modified and split up.  It suffered from this alteration and after 40 years of hard work needed a tremendous amount of work done.  Rather than again make do we have given to Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool the task of completely rebuilding the old instrument.

organ pipes
organ pipes

The first and most obvious improvement is the detached console.

The great advantage of this is that the organist can hear what he is playing, can hear his choir and congregation, and so can balance the voices and music.  Before, he was deafened by his own noise and hardly knew if the choir was there.

The console itself is a fine piece of work and is not in the way of the church’s worship, so that now the chapel can return to its real use.

The next improvement is the electric action.  This means that the wind, which of course is still used to blow the notes, is released by electricity and is therefore very much quicker in action. (This is by a four link crank -shaft which connects to the reservoir blowing feeders.) All the stops and the ‘swell’ are electric and will be noiseless.

There have always been three organs, swell, choir and great, played from three different keyboards, but only one has been able to be controlled in volume.

Now two of them are in swell boxes, which means that you can make them loud or soft, according to the way in which you wish to blend the notes.  One further set of notes has been added called a nazard, which together with the additional four top notes to each stop, bring the organ up to modern accepted standards.

The case and pipework that shows has been re-polished and painted to put the finishing touches.  This was called the Coronation Organ, one that we could be proud of. 

Rushworth and Dreaper are no longer in business.

Since 2000, we’ve had a  Trumpet 8 stop added to the choir manuel  and  a clarion  4  added to the great manual. This was done in memory  of Thomas Stonham organist for 54 years {1937 – 1991}

Cousans Organs  (of Leicester) took over for a period.

Since 1991 Mark Rodman has been Organist, when he started fund raising to have the organ restored .

Through  quotes we required for this work, it was decided to offer  the work to E.J. Johnson & Son Cambridge Ltd, though their workshop moved to Snetterton, Norfolk.

So on July 26th 2008,  nine weeks  of work started, and out of 1881 pipes just one had to be replaced, and of 2100  motors, only ten were replaced: so a fine result for workmanship of its day.  Organ completed for Harvest Festival  5/10/2008, at a total cost of £21,000 including VAT.

This is a fine instrument to play now it’s refurbished. We hope it continues its work for many years to come.