Organ History

St. Peters Organ

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The organ was first installed at St. Peter’s in 1861, it is believed by the organ builders Wood-Wordsworth of Leeds. It was restored in 1886 by John Laycock of Crosshills.

A plaque on the organ commemorates the appreciation of the congregation for the “devoted services” of the organist Mr. Thomas Hustwick who was “suddenly called to his rest” (whilst playing the organ) on Easter Day in 1910.

The organ was hand-pumped until the early 1930s, when an electric blower was installed by Laycock and Bannister. At this time, a Gamba stop was added by parishioners and friends in memory of the Rector, the Rev. Joseph William Hall.

A favourite organist at that period was George Mitton, who was said to make the organ sound like no-one else did (in the best possible sense, of course!), but “it sounds as if he is chopping wood in the background” – a consequence of the mechanical action of the instrument.

The organ was cleaned and restored again in the 1950s, at which time electric action was fitted. The work was undertaken by Laycock and Bannister (whose staff at that time included Mr. David Smith, who has supplied many of these historical details), for a cost of around £800. The first recital after that restoration was given by Dr. Melville Cook of Leeds Parish Church; it is said that the playing was so wonderful that the church resolved there was no need to spend further on the instrument!

The organ was for many year in the care of John Barnes of Corkhills Organ Builders.

In 2002 the organ was restored in memory of the Rev. Michael Casterton, funded by Friends of St. Peter’s Addingham (FOSPA) and parishioners. It was dedicated at Michaelmas 2002. The restoration was carried out by John T. Jackson and Son Ltd, and the organ specification was extended by the use of Bradford Enhanced Synthesis Technology. The first organ recital on the restored organ was given in February 2003 by Dr. Simon Lindley, Master of the Music at Leeds Parish Church and Leeds City Organist.

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