When originally built the church did not have an organ, only a “singing pew” in the west gallery for a choir and musicians. In 1829 an organ was constructed at the west end and opened on Sunday 15th November with a choir of 50 and the organist from Hull[i].  In 1864 the organ was “enlarged and improved” by the firm of Kirtland and Jardine of Manchester. It was opened on 25th May.  This organ was moved to the east end of the north gallery as part of the renovations in 1876. When Rev. Arthur Cribb became vicar in 1890, he was concerned about the state of the organ, describing it as “a fourth rate instrument quite out of character with the building in its modern condition, quite unfitted to accompany the voices of such an efficient choir…”[ii].  Although the parish was looking to build a new church (St Peter’s) at the time, Cribb argued for a new organ also.  The Leeds organ builder J J Binns was selected and the new organ opened in April 1892.

The organ has been described as

“one of the best examples of Binn’s earlier period. It is a romantic instrument firmly within the classical European tradition.”[iii]

The original case was replaced in 1904. The organ was obviously much used and by 1911 it was reported that the organ needed tuning and some restoration as some of the “larger pipes have bent and fallen on the sound board.”[iv]  The organ was cleaned and restored in 1953 and 1982. Originally hand-pumped, the organ was later provided with two water-engines to power the blower which “did their work somewhat noisily for many years.”  They were replaced by a 3-hp electric motor when electricity was available in 1926.[v]

The organ has now been in use (at 2016) for 124 years and, although some work has been done recently, it needs attention.

The organ is a 3-keyboard instrument with Pedal, Choir, Great and Swell. It is regularly used in services and at concerts and we welcome enquiries on visiting to play.

[i]      Opening the new organ at shipley, The Hull Packet and Humber Mercury (Hull, England), Tuesday, November 17, 1829; Issue 2348.

[ii]     Stephen Mott, 1992, Organ Centenary Souvenir Booklet, p.8

[iii]    Dr Harry Bramma, Former Director of RSCM, in Mott, Souvenir. p. 6.

[iv]    Parish Magazine, November 1911.

[v]     ‘Vicar’s Letter’, Parish Magazine, February 1926.

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