This CD CAN BE ORDERED by
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
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
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:
A new Organ, Compass ofGreat
Organ CC to F
1.Open throughout, Lower Oct wood
4.Salicional Fid G
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
composition pedals to Great
composition pedals to Swell
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
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
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
specification of the organ was:
(12. 19. 22)
8 (Ext M.B)
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
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
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
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
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
addition, a piston capture action from A.J. and L. Taylor Ltd of
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
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
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
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.
specification after the restoration of 2001 is as follows:
(in inches water gauge)
Great and Choir Organs 3 ½ ins w.g.
Swell Organ4 ins w.g.
Great Trumpet 8/4ft5 ins w.g.
Pedal Trombone16ft5 ins w.g.
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.
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.
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
£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 havebeen 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,
1897 Ernest G Welsh
1900 G.T. Pattman F.R.C.O.
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.
Philip Chignell, F.R.C.O.
There were over
one hundred applicants for the post when Philip Chignell was
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.
Taylor, F.V.C.M, F.F.C.M.
Another pupil of
Dr. G.H. Smith.Prior to
his thirty-two years at Hessle, RaymondTaylorhad held appointments from 1925 at churches in
St. Augustine’s, Hedon, and also in Hull.
1982 Andrew Leach,
A.R.M.C.M, A.F.C.M, F.R.S.A.
studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music.He was formerly assistant organist at Beverley Minster and
Master of the Music at Howden Minster.