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The Organ of Christ Church, West Didsbury, Manchester

The Organ of Christ Church, West Didsbury, Manchester Mr. Gordon Thorne D.A.(Manc.) F.R.I.B.A. who is Architect to this church, has kindly supplied the following information and photograph.

Due to the upgrading of Princess Road (which ran at the West End of the church) into a Freeway, the consequent widening of the road caused the Church Authorities to close the West End entrance.

The original organ chamber was on the South side of the Chancel and was converted into the entrance, with new doors in the East wall of the chamber.

The old organ (a Jardine) was in very poor condition and could not be converted to fit on a gallery at the West end, so a new instrument was constructed in a case, as can be seen in the photograph. A completely new movable console was built, the floors were levelled, the pews were removed and a new movable altar was provided at the East end of the nave. Heating and lighting were also replaced as part of Compensation Works paid for by the Greater Manchester Council.

The scheme was agreed initially in 1969-70, but delayed for some 10 years due to problems with the acquisition of land, etc.


Swell Great
Tremulant
Clarion
Cornopean
Hautboy
Double Trumpet
Mixture
Larigot 1 1/3'
Gemshorn
Flauto Traverso
Principal
Voix Celeste
Salicional
Stopped Diapason
Geigen Principal

4'
8'
8'
16'
22.26.29.33
1 1/3'
2'
4'
4'
8'
8'
8'
8'
Clarinet
Trumpet
Mixture
Tierce 1 3/5'
Nazard 2 2/3'
Fifteenth
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Harmonic Flute
Principal
Viol di Gamba
Clarabella
Open Diapason
Bourdon
8'
8'
19.22.26.29
1 3/5'
2 2/3'
2'
2 2/3'
4'
4'
8'
8'
8'
16'
Pedal Couplers
Schalmei
Trombone
Mixture
Recorder
Stopped Flute
Fifteenth
Bass Flute
Gamba
Principal
Bourdon
Violone
4
16
III ranks
2
4
4
8
8
8
16
16
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Accessories
6 Pistons to Swell
3 General Pistons
5 Duplicated Toe Pistons to Swell
5 Toe Pistons to Pedal
1 Great to Pedal Toe Piston
1 Organo Pleno (Drawstop)
6 Pistons to Great
1 General Cancel
3 Reversers to Couplers
1 Great and Pedal Combined
1 Full Organ (Drawstop)

Mr. Thorne not only acted as Architect to the Church, he also designed the organ (he was, until a year ago, the Hon. Adviser to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Manchester on which panel he still sits as Vice Chairman). Having designed the organ he gave the Inaugural Recital on Saturday the 17th October 1981. For this he played the following programme:

Praeludium
Fantasia
Three Galliards
Chorale No. 3
Chant d'Oiseaux
Adagio
Fantasia in G Major
Prelude & Fugue No. 1
Final (Symphonie No. 1)
Johann Pachelbel
John McCabe
Girolamo Frescobaldi
CÚsar Franck
Oliver Messiaen
Frank Bridge
J. S. Bach
Henk Badings
Alexandre Guilmant

The organ was built by George Sixsmith, Hillside Organ Works, Mossley OL5 OSE. Mr. Gordon Thorne points out that there is no use of extension in the specification. The Great Trumpet pipes can be seen in the casework as they are En Chamade.

(First published in Musical Opinion, September 1985)