The 1922 Organ

This organ was in use from 1922 to 1955

In April 1912, The Rushden Echo reported the debt on the trust fund of Park Road Wesleyan Church had been reduced by the handsome sum of £206 by the bazaar and that the erection of a new organ was being contemplated.

However, it was over ten years later, in June 1922, that the same paper featured the announcement "Organ Opening at Rushden - A Splendid Three-Manual Instrument" which had been installed by Messrs Conacher, Sheffield, & Co Ltd of Birmingham, and had been formally opened on Thursday, 29th June.

The paper reported that the organ, which had 37 stops, was the largest in Rushden and one of the finest instruments in the whole district.  The cost had been about £1,500, besides the old organ which was taken in part exchange, and about £1,000 had been raised before the opening day.  During the opening ceremony Mrs Borman, wife of Rev C Borman, superintendent minister of the Higham Wesleyan circuit, unlocked the organ with a silver key which was then presented to her by Rev R H A Routledge, minister of the church, as a memento of the event.

The service which then followed was conducted by Rev John Freeman of Nottingham, who 23 years previously had been stationed at Irthlingborough, and Mr Heddon Bond presided at the organ.  It was appropriate that the first tune to be played on the instrument after the formal opening was "The Old Hundredth", to which the hymn "All people that on earth do dwell" was sung.

Thirty years later, in October 1952, the local press (now The Rushden Echo and Argus) reported that a fund with a target of £2,000 had been launched for another organ at Park Road.

The minister of the church, Rev C F Guy, had said that the present organ still fulfilled a useful function and although many people probably thought there was little wrong with it, in fact it was a cause of constant anxiety and experts had said the main soundboards would soon be unplayable.  The church trustees still had to decide whether to devote the money raised to a new organ or the reconditioning of the present one.

The trustees evidently decided to replace the aging pipe organ as it was replaced in 1955 by a John Compton Electrone 347 organ.  There were around 200 of the 347s built and the one at Park Road was number 161.  In 2004 the Electrone was supplemented by the Allen System 120 organ which was brought from the Higham Ferrers Methodist church.  Both instruments were removed when the premises were sold in 2013.

 

[Text adapted from "Hearts & Soles"]