Organ dismantling & new case being erected (above)
New case & soundboard nearing completion (above)
Builder : Cramer Wood & Co London 1870
Rebuilt : Bishop & Son London 1894
Rebuilt : Peter Conacher & Co Ltd Huddersfield 1930
Rebuilt after war damage : John Compton Organ Co Ltd London 1946
Rebuilt : Irish Organ Co Belfast 1963
Great Rebuilt : Pipe Organ Preservation Co Belfast 2005/6
The organ is in a chamber on the south side of the chancel. The Swell speaks out into the chancel and the Great speaks into the south transept with the Pedal at the back of the chamber. The detached drawstop console is in a pit under the crossing in the north west corner with the player facing east and his back to the pulpit. There is a wrought iron grill in the chancel arch with the swell shutters in view behind. The Great had a functional display of 8', 4', 2 2/3', 2' diapasons on a shelf in front of the transept arch.
After many rebuilds this organ was in a very confused state. The Great was on 2 soundboards at different levels with different actions. The exposed part was new in 1963 with a new sliderless electro-pneumatic soundboard. The other soundboard was inside the chamber at right angles and 6 feet higher. It dated from the 19th Century with 1930 Conacher multi-stage actions controlled from a 1963 exhaust box. It had been enlarged by five notes and altered for many pipe rank substitutions.
The church building is architecturally superb with a large acoustic which makes any organ sound good. It is located in a declining and difficult area where funds are short and as a result the building and organ are in great need of restoration. With some grant assistance part of the organ was then able to be rebuilt and this was naturally directed towards the Great department.
With the installation of a new slider soundboard to the Great organ, we replaced the two former soundboards both of which required refurbishment. All the Great pipework is now placed together where it can interact with each other and speak together as one entity. This was not the case where the softer stops were hidden inside the chamber at a higher level than the others leading to problems with keeping them in tune with each other and the timing differences with the physical separation and the different type of action working each soundboard.
The new soundboard sits partly in the chamber under the arch and partly protrudes onto the platform built for the 1963 addition. We acquired Victorian casework and front pipes by Magahy of Cork from an organ in Crosshaven Co. Cork which we passed onto St Mary’s for no extra cost. This case is ideal for this situation where it not only complements the church architecture but also completes the organ visually. Installing the new soundboard allowed much freedom in choosing what stops to include on it. There were 598 pipes within the 10 stops on the old soundboards. We moved some pipes around and added some extra pipes to give a total of 815 pipes. The rational for these changes was to provide the organ with as much flexibility as possible to suit all types of repertoire played on it. We examined the existing pipework and after much deliberation came up with a scheme to use the best of it and add carefully selected ranks from our stock to give a much more balanced result.
Old Specification of Great Organ
Double Open Diapason 16 on chests Open Diapason No.1 8 in functional display Open Diapason No.2 8 on chests Hohl Flute 8 on old soundboard Gamba 8 on old soundboard Dolce 8 on old soundboard Principal 4 in functional display Spitz Flute 4 on old soundboard Twelfth 2 2/3 in functional display Fifteenth 2 in functional display Tierce 1 3/5 on old soundboard Larigot 1 1/3 on old soundboard Tromba 8 on chest
New Specification of Great Organ
Double Open Diapason 16 on chests (1870) Open Diapason No.1 8 1-13 Magahy front pipes conveyed, rest original (1963) Open Diapason No.2 8 1-12 original on chests, 13-61 from stock Stopped Diapason 8 1-12 Hohl Flute (1870), rest Spitz Flute 4' transposed (1963) Harmonic Flute 8 1-12 grooved, rest from stock Gamba 8 1-12 Dolce pipes conveyed, rest original (1870) Principal 4 original (1963) Hohl Flute 4 original 8' (1870) transposed, top octave added Twelfth 2 2/3 original (1963) Fifteenth 2 original (1963) Seventeenth 1 3/5 added from stock Mixture 220.127.116.11 IV added from stock & recast Tromba 8 on chest Mixture bot C 18.104.22.168 ten D# 22.214.171.124 ten A# 126.96.36.199 treb D# 188.8.131.52 treb A# 5. 8.12.15
Larigot replaced with Mixture IV
Tierce replaced with reconditioned pipes from stock [& renamed Seventeenth]
Hohl Flute 8' transposed to 4' with top octave added
Spitz Flute 4' transposed to 8' using original Hohl Flute 8' bass 1-12
[Dolce replaced with] Harmonic Flute 8' added from stock sharing 8' bass 1-12
Bottom octave added to Gamba using former Dolce 1-12 conveyed
Open Diap No.2 13-61 replaced with separate pipes from stock