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Organ Notes...

Meet Richard Cook...

This CD CAN BE ORDERED by contacting
Graham Marshall on 07393738153
or Richard Cook on 07779203627
at a minimum donation of £6.00 for the 
Tower Fund.
(If you require the CD posting 
please add £1.50 to your donation.)

Our Epiphany service coincided with the 125th anniversary of the installation of this organ.  Andrew Leach, our Musical Director, played parts of a Mass composed by Francois Couperin during the service.     

Contact: Andrew Leach     
Tel. No
. 01 482 658186

History of the Organ

James Alderson Forster (1818-1886) and Joseph King Andrews (1820-1896), each an employee of the London organ builder J. C. Bishop, opened the business in Hull which bore their names early in 1843.  The business developed and became one of the most successful of the North of England organ builders, so much so in fact that the German builder Edmund Schulze (1823-1878), an influence on Forster and Andrews, used to recommend them to prospective clients when he was unable to accept commissions. 

Forster and Andrews became front-rank builders and made many fine organs.  By December 1846, their ninth organ had been built, this being the small two manual instrument for Hessle Church which was erected at a cost of £135 in a low gallery at the east end of the south aisle and which replaced an earlier instrument, apparently not new and of unknown origin, erected by Edward Ryley of York in December 1824.  Forster and Andrews made an allowance of £20 for the latter instrument against the cost of their new instrument in 1846. 

The entry in the builders’ ledger for December 3rd 1846 reads as follows: 

Hessle  Church

A new Organ, Compass of Great Organ CC to F

1.      Open throughout, Lower Oct wood 
2.      Clarabel 
3.      Stopt Bass 
4.      Salicional Fid G 
5.      Principal 
6.      Fifteenth 

Swell Mid C 

1.      Bourdon 
2.      Open Diap 
3.      Oboe 
4.      Swell Coupler 

Two Composition Pedals 
2 Octs German Pedals from GG 
(The lower 5 notes taking Octaves above) 
With two Cases. Grained dark Oak, and Show Pipes painted yellow. 

This instrument with some improvements in April 1863 which included the addition of one Octave of Bourdon Pedal Pipes and a Great to Pedal coupler, continued in use until its removal from the church in 1890.  Following a thorough overhaul, which appears to have included the addition of a Swell to Great coupler, and dispensing with the Great Stopt Bass, the instrument was installed in St. George’s Church, West Grinstead, Sussex in 1892.  Restored in 1984, it seems to be the oldest surviving Forster and Andrews instrument out of some 1378 built.

A new organ, the basis of the present instrument was erected in the church in 1890 by Forster and Andrews at a cost of £619 10s 0d.  It was originally situated at the end of the north choir aisle (now the Barnabas chapel) and was dedicated on 30th December that year with an opening recital given by the organist of  Holy  Trinity Church , Hull, Frederick Bentley.  The three manual and pedal organ with mechanical action to the manuals and tubular pneumatic action to the pedal had 25 speaking stops and 6 couplers as follows:

GREAT 

 

SWELL 

 

Open Diapason

8

Lieblich Bordun

16

Stopped Diapason

8

Open Diapason

8

Gamba

8

Salicional

8

Principal

4

Voix Celestes(ten. C)

 8

Waldflote

4

Gemshorn

4

Twelfth

 2 2/3

Piccolo Harmonique

2

Fifteenth

2

Mixture III

 

Trumpet

8

Cornopean

8

 

 

Oboe

8

 

 

 

 

CHOIR 

 

PEDAL 

 

Dulciana

8

Open Diapason

16

Lieblich Gedact

8

Bourdon

16

Flauto Traverso

4

Violoncello

8

Flautino

2

Clarinet (ten. C)

8


COUPLERS 

Swell to Great

Swell to Pedal

Three composition pedals to Great

Swell to Choir

Great to Pedal

Two composition pedals to Swell

Swell Octave

Choir to Pedal

Lever Swell pedal 

 
In 1901, the organ was dismantled in order to be re-erected in the existing chamber.  Apart from the installation of an electric blower and regular maintenance by the original builders, which included cleaning and renovation in 1935, the organ remained untouched for a further fifty-three years.

Evidence shows that in the early 20th century Forster and Andrews submitted a scheme to enlarge the organ, install a new action and provide a detached console as the position of the console after the re-erection in 1901, virtually inside the chamber, was very unsatisfactory.  The scheme failed to come to fruition and following its revival sometime afterwards, it was decided to invite the organist of York Minster, Dr. (later Sir) Edward Bairstow to meet the church officials on 4th August 1914.  This meeting did not materialise, the chosen date having coincided with the outbreak of the First World War. 

By 1951 it had become obvious that the organ would have to undergo a major rebuild as the old tracker action, which had given more than sixty years’ service, was badly worn and the tone of the instrument had deteriorated as a result of an accumulation of dirt.  In November 1953 the contract for the rebuilding of the organ was placed with the Hall and Broadfield Organ Company of Hull.

This company replaced the 1890 mechanical action with a new exhaust pneumatic one and made limited additions to Forster and Andrews’ tonal scheme, particularly in the pedal organ, in an attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the old instrument.  The console was moved to a more favourable location some feet further south from its former position and a new pedal board was provided.  At the same time the choir organ was enclosed and a new blower was installed in the organ chamber, replacing the original which was situated in a pit in the churchyard.  The cost of this work was £2040 0s 0d and the organ was rededicated on 13th March 1955.  An inaugural recital was given by Eric Bell, organist of St. Mary’s Church, Beverley who had acted as consultant for the rebuild. 

The specification of the organ was:

GREAT 

 

SWELL (Enclosed) 

 

Bourdon

16

Open Diapason

8

First Diapason

8

Salicional

8

Second Diapason

8

Voix Celeste (T.C.)

8

Stopped Diapason

8

Open Flute

8

Principal

4

Gemshorn

4

Wald Flute

4

Fifteenth

2

Twelfth

2 2/3

Mixture (12. 19. 22)

III

Fifteenth

2

Contra Oboe

16

Mixture

(19. 22. 26)  III

Trumpet

8

Tuba Minor

8 (Choir)

Tremulant

Swell to Great

Octave

Choir to Great

Sub Octave

 

 

CHOIR (Enclosed) 

PEDAL

Lieblich Gedeckt

8

Major Bass

16

Dulciana

8

Sub Bass

16

Flauto Traverso

4

Bourdon

16 (Great)

Nazard

2 2/3

Quint

10 2/3 (Ext. S.B)

Flautino

2

Octave

8 (Ext M.B)

Clarinet (T.C)

8

Flute Bass

8 (Ext. S.B)

Tuba Minor

8

Violoncello

8

Tremulant

Super Octave

4 (Ext. M.B)

Octave

Flute

4 (Ext. S.B)

Swell to Choir

Tuba Minor

8 (Choir)

Swell to Pedal

Great to Pedal

Choir to Pedal

4 adjustable thumb pistons to Swell (duplicated by toe pistons)
4 adjustable thumb pistons to Great (Duplicated by toe pistons)
4 adjustable thumb pistons to Choir
Reverser thumb piston Great to Pedal (duplicated by toe piston)
Reverser thumb piston Swell to Great
Reverser toe piston Choir to Great (altered to Great Tuba Minor 
in 1969)
Balanced expression pedals to Swell and Choir

By the late 1960’s, the organ had gone into decline again and because of age, much of the pipe work had deteriorated.  Cleaning the stonework in the church had also taken its toll and many of the pipes were speaking incorrectly.  Inspection also showed that the soundboards were leaking badly and required immediate attention if the organ was to be preserved.

A gift of 500 guineas towards the cost of overhauling and restoring the organ enabled urgent work to be effected in 1969.  Cousans of Lincoln completely dismantled the organ for repairs to the soundboards and cleaning and restoration of the pipework. Whilst no tonal additions were made at this time, the choir organ reverted to its former unenclosed state and additional shutters were installed in the western end of the swell box to provide better egress of sound into the nave.  Minor alterations were made to the interior layout to facilitate easier access for tuning and maintenance.  Cousans also remodelled the swell mixture in early 1977.

In January 1984, the whole of the choir organ and part of the pedal were rendered unplayable because of storm damage.  Roger Jubb of Gainsborough effected repairs on this occasion in conjunction with the tuner, Julian Paul.  Whilst the choir organ was dismantled, the opportunity was taken to replace the Dulciana with a Tierce, this latter being largely derived from the Dulciana pipework and to complete the bottom octave of the Clarinet with contemporary 19th century pipework.  The Tuba Minor was revoiced and the work was completed in early 1985. 

The organ was seriously affected by water damage in November 1994, the choir organ once again becoming unplayable, a state, which was to prevail for the next six years. However, throughout the last two decades of the 20th century, considerable problems developed with the organ arising from an accumulation of dirt, crumbling pipework, perished leatherwork, wind leaks, worn actions and slow speech coupled with increasing unreliability.  It was apparent then that nothing short of a complete and comprehensive restoration of all parts of the organ would overcome the problems.

 

 

Thanks once again to a substantial bequest, it has been possible to proceed with such a restoration and after consideration of the proposals of three organ builders, the contract was awarded to Principal Pipe Organs of York. 

 

 

 



The restoration has necessitated the organ being completely dismantled with the bulk of the pipe-work, action mechanisms, soundboards and various other items removed to the builders’ workshops for attention.  All the soundboards have been stripped down and restored, with new sliders fitted to replace the originals, many of which had become twisted.  Schmidt slide seal-discs and pads have been glued to the soundboard tables to eliminate any wind loss or ‘running’ of wind between notes.  New electro-pneumatic underactions have been fitted and all manual and pedal offnote and action chests have been re-leathered throughout. 

The console has been moved from its original position on the south side of the case to a new location on the west.  This has allowed the player to have better contact with singers and clergy and has enabled him to judge the musical balance more accurately.  With the woodwork stripped, repaired, stained and polished and the old pneumatic action changed to an electro-pneumatic type, the console has been fitted with new keyboards with oak cheeks, the natural keys faced in ivory resin and the sharps of ebony and manufactured by P and S Organ Supply Company of Brandon, Suffolk.  The builders have made a new pedal board with oak frame and polished beech sticks. The ivory drawstop heads have been retained with new heads turned to match from graded ivory resin.  In addition, a piston capture action from A.J. and L. Taylor Ltd of Bury, Lancashire has been provided allowing the use of up to sixteen divisional and ninety-six general memory levels.  This firm also provided a new low voltage electrical transmission system fitted between the manual and pedal keys, drawstops and associated actions and incorporating a solid state coupling system.

Previously, the west-facing arch in the north aisle had hindered tonal egress from the organ.  In an attempt to improve this situation and also to accommodate the newly positioned console, a degree of re-location has been effected in the organ chamber.  Included in the structural alterations has been the enlargement of the shutters in the west front of the swell box to permit greater egress of sound into the nave. 

The winding system, which was provided for hand blowing, was bulky and of haphazard design giving rise to an unsteady wind supply.  This has been replaced by a new system, which provides stable wind and is made up of four new breakdown bellows.  Together with new wooden wind trunking throughout, Schwimmer wind controls have been fitted to the Great, Swell, Choir and Trumpet/Clarion soundboards to ensure maximum stability of supply.

The quality of any pipe organ can best be judged by the tone it produces, which in turn also reflects the accuracy with which the pipes have been voiced.  Each of the 1700 or so pipes has been carefully restored to its original pristine condition.  The metal pipes have been washed, repaired and fitted with new tinned tuning slides.  Wooden pipes have been  cleaned and polished, the stopped pipes having their stoppers recovered with new sheepskin. All the reed stops, after being stripped down and washed, have had their brass shallots re-burnished and their fatigued brass tongues replaced.  The Tuba Minor, originally Forster and Andrews’ Great Trumpet, has been revoiced, its wind pressure reduced and its tone quality modified to the original brighter, more open tone with extension to provide the Great/Choir Clarion.  Also extended is the Swell Contra Oboe, revoiced as a Contra Fagotto and extended to give an 8ft Oboe.  The Swell 4ft Clarion is a new stop as is the Pedal 16ft Trombone.  Duncan Booth and his staff from Bramley, Leeds were responsible for the reed pipework. 

Further tonal modifications have seen the Mixtures on the Great and Swell interchanged so that the lower pitched of the two is on the Great, the Great 16ft Bourdon has been returned to the Swell, the Great Second Diapason has been brought back to its original Gamba tone and the respective Swell and Choir 2ft ranks have been interchanged according to Forster and Andrews’ 1890 scheme. The original Forster and Andrews’ nomenclature has been adopted as far as possible. 

There was no common standard of musical pitch when the organ was first made and since then it has been approximately one fifth of a semitone sharp.  It has now been lowered to the current standard pitch, which means that orchestral instruments can be combined with the organ successfully. 

The specification after the restoration of 2001 is as follows:

Wind Pressures (in inches water gauge)
Great and Choir Organs      3 ½ ins w.g.
Swell Organ                           4 ins w.g.
Great Trumpet 8/4ft              5 ins w.g.
Pedal Trombone   16ft         5 ins w.g.

Mixture Compositions

Great Organ             1-25        15-19-22
                        26-42              12-15-19
                        43-56             8-12-15

Swell Organ             1-18        19-22-26
                       19-30       15-19-22  
                       31-42       12-15-19
                       43-56               8-12-15

Blowing apparatus

Blowing is provided by a B.O.B. type X10B plant housed in the organ chamber whose 2 ½ h.p. motor operates on a three-phase electricity supply.

The organ casework has been cleaned, repaired and repolished with adaptations made to allow for the repositioned console and the front pipes have been repainted silver with gold mouths.

One of the aims of the restoration has been to re-create the tonal character of the 1890 organ.  The tonal alterations have been designed not only to give a more complete chorus structure to each department of the organ, but also to respectfully enhance the original Forster and Andrews’ sound.  Every credit must be given to Geoffrey Coffin and his team at Principal Pipe Organs for rebuilding the organ with workmanship of the highest order.  Because of the skill and craftsmanship that has gone into the restoration, there is now no reason why the organ should not serve a further century before the process becomes necessary again.

The organ was re-dedicated by the Archbishop of York, Dr. David Hope on 26th July 2001 and Gordon Stewart, the Kirklees Borough Organist of Huddersfield Town Hall, gave the inaugural recital on 28th July.

 

ORGANISTS OF ALL SAINTS’  PARISH CHURCH , HESSLE

Records of 19th century organists are very incomplete.  That there was an organist is evidenced by the fact that an annual salary of 
£4 0s 0d was paid in 1827.  By 1828 this amount had risen to £5 0s 0d, an amount which was to remain more or less until the closing years of the century when the salary was £15 0s 0d.

Richard Hall was the first organist known by name.  He was certainly in office in September 1828 and it is possible that he was appointed in 1824 when Ryley installed an organ in the church.  Hall appears to have been succeeded in 1831 by a Miss Ellis who may well have remained as organist until the appointment of Joshua D Horwood in 1840.

Horwood, a pupil of Dr. H.J. Gauntlett (known, amongst other compositions, for his tune for ‘Once in Royal David’s city’) and friend of S.S. Wesley, held the post until 1854 when he was appointed to the Mariners’ Church in Hull.  After two years there, he moved to St. Mary’s, Cottingham and then returned to Hessle for a period before moving to his last appointment at All Saints’ Church, North Ferriby. 

Around 1880, a Mr. Woodford was organist and for a short time from 1881, the post was held by Robert R Coverdale.

Out of the first seventy years when there was an organ in the church, organists can only be named for around half of the time.  However, from 1895, records are complete and read with further information where appropriate, as follows:

1895 H.L. Adams, Mus. Bac. (Dunelm), F.R.C.O.

1896 H.M.  Lawrence, A.R.C.O.

1897 Ernest G Welsh A.R.C.O.

1900 G.T. Pattman F.R.C.O.

George Pattman moved to Bridlington where he was organist at Bridlington Priory from 1901 to 1904, subsequently holding appointments at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow and later in London. By 1916 he decided that the entertainment business would be more lucrative and so ordered a large travelling organ from Harrison & Harrison of Durham with which he toured throughout the country. 

1901 Philip Chignell, F.R.C.O.

There were over one hundred applicants for the post when Philip Chignell was appointed organist.  He had been a chorister at  St. George’s Chapel, Windsor under Sir Walter Parratt.  An assistant organist at Norwich Cathedral, he came to Hessle from St. Margaret’s, Lowestoft.

1944 Harold Dibnah.

A pupil of the well-known Hull organist Dr.G.H. Smith.  From 1911 until the 1980’s, Harold Dibnah held appointments at fifteen churches in the Hull area.

1950    Raymond Taylor, F.V.C.M, F.F.C.M.

Another pupil of Dr. G.H. Smith.  Prior to his thirty-two years at Hessle, Raymond Taylor had held appointments from 1925 at churches in Holderness, including St. Augustine’s, Hedon, and also in Hull.

1982 Andrew Leach, A.R.M.C.M, A.F.C.M, F.R.S.A.

Andrew Leach studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music. He was formerly assistant organist at Beverley Minster and Master of the Music at Howden Minster.

 

Andrew celebrates 25 years as Director of Music.

Window hidden in the Organ Chamber

  

 


 

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Last modified: July 17, 2020