The Church’s Organ
John C Ross was St. George’s Organist for 65 years. John became the organist and choirmaster at St. George’s Congregational Church in 1946, when he returned from war service with the Royal Navy. This was originally for a three month trial period – which was never officially ratified, to become a permanent position. John cared for the organ diligently during his time as organist, ensuring that it was maintained in proper order. This included having the parts which required electrification installed, some years ago.
John took his duties very seriously, and always arranged someone to deputise for him whenever he was unable to play. We celebrated and recognised John’s long service during worship on Sunday 27th November 2011. Sadly, John Ross died in 2014. We are now served by Mr Peter Walker and Mr Frank Whittaker as well as visiting organists.
The organ underwent a major overall during May 20??, and the church was closed during that period.
All the organ pipes were removed when the church was closed for renovation, to ensure that there was minimum risk of damage.
Our congregation worshipped with Grange Road Methodist Church whilst this was completed.
This year, in 2023, we are pleased to have undertaken some essential maintenance on the organ and are extremely pleased with the results. After 120 years, the leather that creates a seal around the primary bellows in the cellar below the organ had perished to the point where air was escaping in large quantities. This meant that the organ was struggling to give full voice to the pipes and therefore was restricted in its output. The bellows was removed and all of the leather was replaced. On the 24th August the bellows was returned to the church and refitted into the cellar and reconnected to the blower. The difference that this has made is astonishing. No air is now escaping so the organ is able to voice through the pipes. A major restoration but one that has really transformed the sound of the magnificent Binns organ in St George’s.
The old leather clearly shown to be rotten
The bellows cut apart for removal and repair
After the repairs with the bellows back in situ on top of the blower
St. George’s was opened in 1902.
- Two years later the organ was built by JJ Binns using its Patent Tubular Pneumatic action. The casework was built by Newcombe & Newcombe.
- Church & Co. overhauled the organ in 1976.
- In 1998 the organ was converted to electropneumatic action by John Lightbown.
Further information can be obtained from The National Pipe Organ Register:
http://www.npor.org.uk Click on the NPOR tab and enter the following reference number: N04270