The Church Organ

Some History

25 October 1877 Foundation stone of the Church laid.

24 April 1879 Church opened.

1880 – Fully pneumatic organ built by Brindley & Foster.

1934 – Electric blower installed.

1938 – Repairs undertaken by Jardine & Co. of Manchester. Tremulant added.

1970/71 – Re-build by Charles Whiteley & Co. Ltd of Chester. Work commenced in August 1970.

Mechanism converted to electro-pneumatic action; pipes repaired; new console (to the specification of the Royal College of Organists) installed. Organ re-dedicated on 19th February 1971.

1991/1993 – Further work undertaken by Charles Whiteley. Original leather hinges replaced by direct pallet magnets; installation of fully adjustable piston setter action + solid state draw-stop control system. Great Dulciana replaced by Twelfth (given by Derek Morris in memory of his father Rev. Charles. S. Morris & his mother Harriet Morris (née Rogers)); necessary repairs were also undertaken. Organ re-opened 30th April 1993.

1996/2000 – Repair work to Swell box shutters undertaken by Peter Spencer of Rugby, who now maintains the organ.

2015 – Bellows leather replaced.

The first organist of St. John’s was Frances Davies, a cousin of composer Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941), who was Master of the King’s Music after Sir Edward Elgar, from 1934 until his death. Frances became Mrs Pickard when she married, then after being widowed became Mrs Lloyd. She played the organ for the church for over 50 years until she died at the age of 90. 

We have been fortunate to have several organists at St. John’s, but our ‘official’ organist was Derek Morris from 1971 until he passed away in 2020 in the COVID-19 pandemic. Gwen Reeves has been our main organist since Derek became too poorly to play regularly in 2018/19.