Up to 1911 a hired organ had been used to lead the music, but in 1909 the congregation had decided that the Parish Church should possess an organ of its own, one worthy of the church and in keeping with the dignity of the additions rapidly being made to the interior. A sub-committee set to work to raise the necessary funds and as soon as half the required sum was raised, Sir George Martin the Organist of St. Paul's Cathedral and Sir Charles Nicholson, the architect of the Parish Church, were called into consultation with the committee and their recommendations were adopted. The organ loft was placed in the North Transept, the gallery having to be strengthened to take the weight of the new organ which was over five tons. The console which was detached was put into the Lady Chapel. The organ was dedicated on 16th. December 1911 by the Rural Dean, the Rev. T. O. Reay and the Sub-Organist of St. Paul's Cathedral, Mr. Charles Macpherson gave a recital at the end of the dedication service. The organ costing approximately £1000 was built by Messrs. Hill & Son.
Hill's original concept had remained unaltered for
over 70 years, with the exception of the discus blower added in the
1960's. The organ had served the church for over half a century, but it
was apparent after this time that the instrument was in need of
Martin K. Cross of Grays, Essex was commissioned to undertake a rebuild, work began in May 1981. First of all the console was dismantled and taken to the workshop in Grays. The old tubular-pneumatic lead piping was removed, and finally the pipe work. The exterior and interior walls of the organ loft also needed attention and were prepared and repainted. All windchests and chambers were thoroughly cleaned, and piping cleaned and repaired where necessary.
All the various actions of pneumatic design were
discarded, and a system of direct electric solenoids was incorporated to
fit the four divisions of the instrument. The latest design of
electrical components and the latest innovations in building technology
of the time were used throughout. The organ is now a mixture of solid
state and electro-mechanical actions.
On inspection of the console it was decided to replace the three manuals so that a more generous number of pistons were available than was originally envisaged. All are fully adjustable through a setter switch board located in the side of the console. The result is that the action is very responsive to the most discerning player, this makes the new drawstop action much faster for registration changes. A new centrally balanced swell pedal was fitted to replace the old swell lever, this pedal controls a 16 stage swell engine to open and close the swell shutters. Solid state electrical motors replaced the old pneumatic slider motors on the Great and Swell windchests. Refurbished pneumatic motors operate the Choir and Pedal slider actions.
The organ loft houses the complex electrical switching
system which is in a box 3.5ft X 7ft. Approximately four miles of wiring
is utilised in this system which controls all the intermanual couplers
and magnetic selectors.
The old combination foot levers were replaced by chromium toe pistons. In addition, reversers have been added to control the Tremulant and Great toe Pedal couplers. All pistons are changeable from a setter board in the side of the console. Tonally the organ remains unchanged. The fifteenth on the Great has been brightened, making it more flexible within the Great chorus. The Choir flutes have been made more incisive which allows greater flexibility for accompanying the Liturgy.
The layout of the organ loft is unaltered. The pipes
of the Swell organ are set out in a letter 'A' configuration - i.e. the
longest pipes are in the centre of the windchest. The Pedal organ is
situated at the back and to one side of the swell box.
The rebuilding resulted in a more effective, comprehensive and reliable instrument.
GREAT ORGAN SWELL ORGAN
(01) 8' Diapason (01) 16' Lieblich Bourdon
(02) 8' Diapason No.11 (02) 8' Open Diapason
(03) 8' Claribell (03) 8' Viol de Gamba
(04) 4' Harmonic Flute (04) 8' Voix Celeste
(05) 4' Principal (05) 4' Gaigen Principal
(06) 2' Fifteenth (06) 111 rank Mixture 17, 19, 22
(07 8' Tromba (07) 8' Oboe
(08) 8' Cornopean
(08) Swell to Great (09) Swell Octave
(09) Choir to Great (10) Swell Sub-octave
(10) Gt.thumb pistons to
pedal combination couplere
CHOIR ORGAN PEDAL ORGAN
(01) 8' Dulciana (01) 16' Open Diapason
(02) 8' Liablich Gedakt (02) 16' Bourdon
(03) 4' Suable Flute (03) 8' Bass Flute
(04) 8' Clarinet
(05) Swell to Choir (04) Great to Pedal
(05) Swell to Pedal
(06) Choir to Pedal
5 Adjustable thumb pistons to Great
5 Adjustable thumb pistons to Swell
3 Adjustable thumb pistons to Choir
1 Reversible thumb piston - Swell to Great
1 Reversible thumb piston - Great to Pedal
General Cancel Thumb Piston
5 Toe pistons duplicating Great thumb pistons
1 Reversible toe piston - Great to Pedal
1 Reversible toe piston - General Tremulant.
One of the best known Organists to play this instrument was Jamie Hitel who was organist and choirmaster from the age of 14. You can find out more about Jamie on his Web Site. www.jamiehitel.com