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J W Walker And Christian Science


John Sayer
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Can anyone suggest a possible reason for the preponderance of Walker organs in Christian Science churches? Take London, for example - there were at one time, I think, 11 CS churches, the majority of which had Walker organs, many of them on a fairly heroic scale (e.g. First Church in Cadogan Place, Ninth Church in Marsham Street).

 

Could it be that a member of the Walker family or management team belonged to this particular sect? Or perhaps wealthy benefactors, for whom money was no constraint, saw the firm as providing the musical equivalent of a Rools-Royce in the 20s & 30s? Or maybe the firm simply found a successful line in marketing?

 

As CS numbers have dwindled, many of the churches have been sold off or reduced in size. One successful project, however, has been the recent re-modelling of the church in Richmond, Surrey, where the IIP 1930s Walker has been sypathetically reinstated, with very modest tonal additions (not on NPOR, apparently).

 

JS

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Can anyone suggest a possible reason for the preponderance of Walker organs in Christian Science churches?  Take London, for example - [et seq]

 

There was a fairly detailed and well written article sometime ago in Organists' Review about the organs in Christian Science churches in London. I can't remember when this was and my copy is buried deep somewhere at present (pressure on space - young family etc!!) All I remember about the author was that he had done a degree thesis on funeral arrangements or something along similar lines!

 

Not much help - sorry!

 

AJJ

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There was a fairly detailed and well written article sometime ago in Organists' Review about the organs in Christian Science churches in London. I can't remember when this was and my copy is buried deep somewhere at present (pressure on space - young family etc!!) All I remember about the author was that he had done a degree thesis on funeral arrangements or something along similar lines!

 

Not much help - sorry!

 

AJJ

 

 

Many thanks - the author, in fact, was my good friend, Brian Parsons. He's also intrigued as I am about the CS connection, but, as far as I know, uncertain about a possible explanation.

 

JS

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About 10 years ago I used to regularly practice on the J W Walker organ in the Christian Science Church on Nutford Place, London W1 (just off the Edgware Road). I do not know if this was atypical of other Walker organs in CS churches, but it was somewhat bland and the acoustics, not surprising given the acres of carpet everywhere, were stone cold dead. Not an inspiring place to play, but at least they let me use anything louder than an 8ft Stopped Diapason, unlike a church nearby with another Walker organ who complained about the noise if the organ was played anything other than mezzo-piano.

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Can anyone suggest a possible reason for the preponderance of Walker organs in Christian Science churches?  Take London, for example - there were at one time, I think, 11 CS churches, the majority of which had Walker organs, many of them on a fairly heroic scale (e.g. First Church in Cadogan Place, Ninth Church in Marsham Street).

 

Could it be that a member of the Walker family or management team belonged to this particular sect?  Or perhaps wealthy benefactors, for whom money was no constraint, saw the firm as providing the musical equivalent of a Rools-Royce in the 20s & 30s?  Or maybe the firm simply found a successful line in marketing?

 

As CS numbers have dwindled, many of the churches have been sold off or reduced in size.  One successful project, however, has been the recent re-modelling of the church in Richmond, Surrey, where the IIP 1930s Walker has been sypathetically reinstated, with very modest tonal additions (not on NPOR, apparently).

 

JS

 

Hi John

 

I know someone who is researching Walker's for a possible book, so look out for that! As regards the organ not being on NPOR - could you send the details? (Even building address & organ builder is enough to generate an initial record).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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