All Saints Church Organ Restoration Appeal: A History of the organ and how local people can help
In 1888 the church founders commissioned Hardy’s Organ Builders, then based on Penny Lane, Lancashire Hill (a few hundred yards from the church) to design two specifications for a new organ. The company, which later became part of the iconic Stockport music shop ‘Nield and Hardy’, duly submitted two designs for the new instrument; one, a large three manual (keyboard) specification, the other a smaller two manual instrument.
The building (centre right) was the premises of Hardy’s Organ Works on Penny Lane. This photograph was taken c1965, just before the area was demolished in a slum clearance project
Due to financial constraints the smaller two manual organ was chosen and, with some modifications to the design, was installed in the newly consecrated church in 1889. The church is very fortunate that the original copies of both these specifications, with quotes, still exist in the archives.
The organ continued in use for a century until 1986, when, for a number of years, the church building was closed due to wet and dry rot. Services were continued to a faithful congregation; firstly in Christ Church School and, once this closed, in All Saints School.
Throughout this traumatic period of closure the organ remained in situ, despite some suggestion that it be scrapped as, by this time, the church no longer had an organist.
However, a group of forward-thinking people from All Saints, recognising both the organs musical merits and its historic significance as a locally built instrument, determined to save it. They eventually won the battle and the organ was saved. It was left in its original position and incorporated into the new layout of the building, which was re-dedicated and re-opened by the then Bishop of Manchester the Rt. Rev. Stanley Booth-Clibborn in 1991.
Apart from the addition of an electric blower in the 1960’s, the organ remains unchanged since 1889, despite the huge changes that have occurred around it, both in the parish and the building itself.
In January 2013 All Saints acquired an organist for the first time in many years and the organ is once again used for services, rehearsals, concerts and recitals. This, in turn, has led to the re-establishment of the church choir, made up of local adults and children, who sing week in, week out at All Saints with a high standard of musicianship.
However, 125 years have taken their toll and whilst still sounding splendid, the organ is in need of c£10,000 worth of restoration in order to secure its future. As the instrument is one of the last remaining Stockport-built organs in existence, and the only remaining one in Stockport, the church has launched a restoration fund to raise the funds for the restoration.
Donation forms can be printed off by clicking on the link below or obtained by telephoning 07821 307 909
Why not consider making a donation, however small, and help play a part in the restoration of this important part of our towns, and particularly Heaton Norris’s, heritage?
A recording of the organ and choir can be heard on the Choir page
Pedal: Open Diapason 16, Bourdon 16
Great: Open Diapason 8, Dulciana 8, Gamba 8, Lieblich Gedact 8, Principal 4, Harmonic Flute 4, Twelfth 2 2/3, Fifteenth 2
Swell: Bourdon 16, Open Diapason 8, Salicional 8, Voix Celeste 8, Hohl Flute 8, Gemshorn 4, Mixture II (17.19), Oboe 8, Cornopean 8.
General Tremulant, Swell Octave.