St Andrew's Church Organ

From reports by Revd. Julian Thomson & organist James Ward in the Orwell Bulletin December 1989

By Sue Miller

The organ now at the west end of the nave in St Andrew’s Church was originally located in the Methodist Church, Baldock, and is believed to have been built in the late 19th century by T.S.Jones of Pentonville Organ Works, North London. 

 During 1988 and 1989 it was removed from Baldock and restored by David Miller, organ builder of Orwell, assisted by churchwarden John Stammers and other parishioners, and took the place of the old organ that had stood close to the chancel steps.

Photo:The old organ in 1920, to the right of the Chancel steps

The old organ in 1920, to the right of the Chancel steps

Photo:The new organ, 2012

The new organ, 2012

A "full-bloodied recital"

The new organ was dedicated at a Service on September 30th 1989 at which Dr Arthur Wills gave a “characteristically full-bloodied” recital, testing David’s workmanship to the limit, but the organ responded perfectly.  Dr Wills’ programme included three of his own compositions, including the interestingly named Etheldreda Rag, and showed that the new organ is very effective as a solo instrument.

For those interested in organ technicalities St Andrew's church organ has hundreds of pipes, the majority of which are metal and some are of wood. The pipes vary in length from sixteen feet to two feet, with the Great Organ and the Swell Organ giving 56 notes each and the Pedal Organ 30 notes.

From time to time the organ needs to be cleaned. This involves taking out most of the pipes, removing dust from inside them, retuning, and hoovering out the interior of the organ before replacing the pipes.

The gallery of photos below shows the pipes laid out on tables during a cleaning operation in May 2015 by Orwell organ builder David Miller, assisted by Susie Frith, a former employee of Manders, a London firm of organ builders.

Photo:With some pipes removed the pipes in the Swell box can be seen
Photo:Sets of Pipes laid out for cleaning
Photo:Susie with the rack boards that support the pipes
Photo:David and Susie with an organ pipe
Photo:Sets of pipes laid out for cleaning
Photo:David blows into a pipe to demonstrate the sound
This gallery was added by Sue Miller on 18/10/2012.

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