The old organ rebuilt by Brindley and Foster in 1910 was intended to stand within the existing church building 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, the task of completely rebuilding the old instrument was given to Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool. (Unfortunately, this company is no longer in business.)
The first and most obvious improvement is the detached console. The great advantage of this is that the organist is able to hear what he is playing and hear the choir and congregation and so is able to 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 was the electric action. This means that the wind (which of course is necessary to sound 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. Therefore, all the stops and the Swell organ are electric and noiseless.
There had always been three “organs” – Swell Organ, Choir Organ and Great Organ – played from three different keyboards but only one had been able to be controlled in volume. Now two of them are in swell boxes which means that they may be 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 brings the organ up to modern accepted standards.
The case and pipework was re-polished and painted and the instrument was known as the Coronation Organ, one of which we may be justly proud.
Since 2000, a Trumpet 8′ stop has been added to the Choir Organ and a Clarion 4′ added to the Great Organ. This was done in memory of Thomas Stonham, our organist for 54 years (1937 – 1991).
Cousans Organs (of Leicester) took over for a period but after seeking quotes, it was decided to offer the work to E.J. Johnson & Son Cambridge Ltd through their workshop moved to Snetterton, Norfolk.
Nine weeks of work started on 26 July 2008. Out of 1881 pipes, just one had to be replaced and out of 2100 motors, only ten were replaced which a fine result for workmanship of its day. The organ was completed in time for the Harvest Festival on 5 October, 2008 at a total cost of £21,000 including VAT.
This is now a fine instrument to play and we hope it continues its work for many years to come.