Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

20 Stop Harrisons


Recommended Posts

Following on from a number of very informative and interesting emails from a forum member it seems that there are a number of very versatile and smallish Arthur Harrison instruments of real worth and note which are not more widely known.


This organ, in Skipton, is a real survivor and would serve as an excellent example to get the ball rolling. It’s technically 19 real stops as the usual borrowings for the pedal are there, including the downward extension for the 16’ pedal reed. The Solo was prepared for only.


I’ll leave it to those who have played it to sing its praises, suffice it to say that I have the joy of unlimited access without too many duties (that sounds like a good deal I hear you say). Robert Marsh is the organist there and he has built-up a very good bank holiday series of recitals each year. I might as well plug the forthcoming Easter Monday one at 11.00 am for good measure for any of you who might be up in the t’north. ( I fill in when he has other engagements or examining tours).




Link to comment
Share on other sites

St John's, Weymouth:




One of those instruments which somehow seem comfortable and inviting and with much to explore tonally even for a small organ. Somehow very refined, with almost a Rolls-Royce feel. This always made it difficult to leave and switch off the blower. The last time I was there it was a wedding at which I played at the invitation of the family. It coped with 'the Widor' quite well even wihout a pedal reed, and some in the bridal party were visibly moved by it - I suspect this was the instrument rather than my playing.


I haven't played there for some while now so cannot speak for the organ as it might be today, though it had been very well cared for when I last played it. It confirmed my opinion that Harrisons, or at least some of them, are certainly different, in a positive sense, to what one generally encounters.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always thought this was a particularly lovely example:

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N03578 (1912, St John's Keswick) though it's a small two manual rebuild of a much larger three manual Gern (!) built just 20 years earlier.


Here is a slightly larger instrument, very effective and deserves to be far better known. It's Grade 2* listed (3 manual 32 stops, King's Heath Methodist Church, Birmingham)



Across the road from the King's Heath organ is a smaller 3 manual Binns in the Baptist Church, though I haven't seen or heard it. On paper it looks very similar to the Gern that Harrisons worked on in Keswick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The St John's Keswick organ is indeed lovely, but it isn't a patch on the glorious 1906 II/18 H&H in Whitehaven URC, 30 miles away on the Cumbrian west coast. Not being in such a tourist spot it isn't so widely known, but it's the finest small Romantic organ I've ever played. Every stop on it is voiced to perfection, and playing it feels like driving a vintage Bentley. Specification was designed by both Lt Col Dixon and Alfred Hollins - see spec and pics at http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N03535.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...