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St Cuthbert's Organ
All photos this page: Mr David Goodenough
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Although St Cuthbert's was the mother church of no less than eight parish churches established during 1756-1869, we were the last parish church in the city to have a pipe organ.
Built in 1899 by Robert Hope-Jones of Birkenhead, the organ was a gift of the Gorgie MP, Robert Cox. St Cuthbert's first Organist was John W. Cowie and the original instrument was installed in two chambers on either side of the chancel.
When the internal fabric of the church was redecorated in 1928, the organ was restored and improved. Most of the 1899 pipe-work was re-incorporated to provide a summary of 29 speaking stops, 2 tremulants and 19 couplers, with a new electro-pneumatic action and the original four manual console (keyboards) as before.
During 1956-57, the organ was completely reworked, with a number of tonal additions, and rebuilt by J.W.Walker & Sons. The Great, Swell, Solo and Pedal were moved to the North Transept Gallery and provided with new case work designed by Messrs Ian G. Lindsay & Partners, Architects of Edinburgh.
The Choir organ was re-sited in the upper north Choir chamber in the original case work. The all-electric draw-stop console was placed opposite here, in the former Solo chamber and the original case work removed. The organ had 65 speaking stops and 18 couplers. It was re-dedicated by the Very Rev Charles L Warr on Palm Sunday 1957 and a recital was given by W.O. Minay, Organist and Choirmaster from 1946 to 1975.
After forty years of musical service the organ was again in need of attention, and Walker & Sons were called in for major reconstruction and improvement in 1997-98. Thanks to the legacies of two elders in St Cuthbert's, Janet Lusk and John Shepherd, the restoration was carried out to the specification of Colin Tipple - a previous organist - in consultation with David Sanger.
The opportunity was taken to replace the old choir organ with an entirely new organ which includes Great, Swell and Pedal divisions playable from a completely revised, detached all-electric four manual console. These divisions can be combined with the main organ in the North Transept Gallery. The new section not only provides accompaniment for the church choir but can be used as a separate instrument for services held in the chancel.
Both organ cases were retained without alteration. The chancel case - designed by Hippolyte J. Blanc, the architect of the church - only needed cleaning whilst the North Gallery case was restored and repolished. Between them they contain 114 display (visible) pipes. The reconstructed organ has 67 speaking stops, 3 tremulants, 20 couplers and 3 piston couplers, making a total of 93 registers.
The outstanding success of the latest phase in the organ's development has given the parish an instrument of versatility and flair, capable of producing an astonishing variety of tonal colour. It is not too much to say that it now ranks among the finest romantic organs in Scotland.
For further detailed information of the organ specification, click HERE
Our Director of Music is Graham D MacLagan.
Details of currently planned organ recitals - more information HERE
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