A first posting from me and as Organist /DOM at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church it is a pleasure to respond to Stephen's question - let's hope that any perceived favourable bias from now on will be minimal!
The present instrument is 95% JJ Binns and new to Bloomsbury in 2008. The previous instrument of multiple parentage had a long and not too happy genesis through several cost-saving rebuilds but the reordering of the church around 2000 provided the opportunity to explore alternative organ possibilities. One of the options considered was of using the redundant organ from Beechen Grove, Baptist Church, Watford - a sizeable 3-manual including Tuba - and during one week in 2006 we experimented using a few hundred of these Binns pipes and the improvement, I have to say, was dramatic. Most noticeable was the glimmer of a bold chorus scheme, warm harmonic flutes (most of the previous ones were very dry) and very characterful French strings. However, the Watford organ was by no means 100% complete (many ranks having previously been sold) and to maintain a viable basic JJ Binns unity we would need to find another similar redundant organ. The late and much-missed Colin Goulden rang me with much helpful advice and pointed out that the redundant Binns at St Augustine's, Tonge Moor, Bolton might suit our purposes admirably. We were very fortunate in being able to purchase the Binns pipework which was in reasonable condition. Thousands of other organ pipes were strewn around the west gallery and other parts of the church in what was, we were told, an unfinished attempt to create the second largest organ in Lancashire!
In late 2006 the Bloomsbury Church AGM voted unanimously to support the organ scheme and the total support of the church and ministers have been central to everything since.
The Shepherd Brothers spent a whole year in the preparation and voicing of the scheme aided by John Males (electronics) and Keith Bance - who fitted and voiced the 32' reed. The Vox Humana and the Subbass 32' (Polyphone) were added as extras to the scheme.
The organ specification as listed on the NPOR can be seen here:
Since its installation the Shepherd-Binns organ has been used extensively in a whole host of activities. The Saturday Afternoon Organ Buffet Concerts (the last Saturday of each month) are proving to be very popular and leading players are now writing-in all the time. Apart from the organ itself, a more-or-less ideal central location combined with free admission (collection,) buffet, double-screen projection, and perhaps the more popular time-slot - 4:00pm - are all playing their part. We try to be as welcoming and friendly as possible and others considering promoting organ concerts might find a few of these ideas helpful.
The Grande Orgue event in association with Philip Norman Music Services is one of a number of collaborative events at Bloomsbury; others will include the RSCM / RCO.
At present we are planning a busy 2013. As this subject has come-up before, perhaps I can announce now that Robert Quinney will perform Francis Pott's Christus in 2013. Lots of popular concerts, too, but don't miss this!!