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organ 208

October 2019

3 manuals
54 speaking stops


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Stoke Minster

Builders

JJ Binns, c1899

JW Walker, 1972

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Stoke Minster


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The visit of BOA members to the Stoke-on-Trent area included the organ in the parish church dedicated to St Peter ad Vincula ("St Peter in chains"), renamed Stoke Minster in 2005.

It was originally built by the famous Leeds firm of J J Binns as a house organ for the master potter H J Johnson, who lived at Westwood Hall in nearby Leek, Staffordshire.  It had an impressive specification, particualrly for a house organ, of four manuals and 47 speaking stops, including a 34-bell Carillon.  It was donated by Johnson to the church in 1921 and installed, unchanged, on the west gallery as a memorial to members of his family who had died in World War I.
In 1972, the instrument was rebuilt and substantially modified to a design by Michael Rhodes in conjunction with Walter Goodey, then Head Voicer at the firm of J W Walker.  This increased the overall number of stops, but reduced the number of manual divisions to three.

This rebuild introduced a Positive division containing several high-pitched ranks that were fashionable at the time, including a Larigot 1 1/3 and Octavin 1 (both extensions of an 8ft Bourdon rank) and a Cymbel III, 36.40.43 , almost certainly the highest-pitched mixture ever to feature on these pages! A programme of monthly recitals takes place here.

You can hear Laurence Caldecott playing this organ as October 2019's Music of the Month.

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