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The organ at the Church of the Holy Spirit

The organ at the Church of the Holy Spirit was built by Alfred Hunter and Son in 1921.
It has had no tonal or mechanical alterations, and the pneumatic action has been restored so that it now works as perfectly as it did when it was new.  

John Scott,  the internationally famous organist and former  Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral gave the opening recital after the restoration. The quality of Hunter’s workmanship combined with the magnificent acoustics of the church mean that is now arguably the  best  example of his work. 

This was recognised when in 1999 the Heritage Lottery Fund contributed half the cost of overhauling and restoring the pneumatic action, and the Royal Academy of Music selected it  as a “Historic and important organ” worthy of a place on the cd “Grand Chorus”.   .
The organ has a fascinating history -  which is still not complete.

The church was dedicated in 1913,but although it was structurally complete, there were no fittings – just hundreds of chairs.  The parish’s plans for funding the fitting out, including the organ, were blown off course by the First World War and the rampant inflation that occurred between 1914 and 1920.  By 1918 the pre-war estimate of £800 for the organ had risen to £1900, and that was  for a modest two manual instrument designed to support congregational singing.  However, that was full provision for this to become a versatile three manual instrument if the funds ever became available.

The Carnegie Trust generously contributed £500 towards the £1900 required, which was £150 more than had been offered when the budget was £800. Three ranks of pipes that were omitted in the original scheme were added between 1921 and 1997, but that left 11 still “prepared for” and all the mechanism for the third manual still missing.

Thus began a drive to complete the instrument.   The first phase involved alterations and repairs to the roof and gutter over the organ chamber, which leaked occasionally.  The second phase was the restoration of the incomplete instrument , which attracted grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council for the Care of Churches  and the ON organ fund.   The third and most challenging phase has been to find, acquire, restore and install everything that was missing, using only material manufactured by Alfred Hunter and Son.  This work, funded by an anonymous donor,  is now almost complete, with only two ranks of pipes still to find.

If anyone reading this can help us acquire a 16ft Contra Fagotto and a 16ft Trombone, do get in touch!