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Smith and Abbott Organ in South Africa

African Organs

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I noted on of the forums about there not being many Smith and Abbott instruments still in the original condition. I am fortunate to play a small 10 rank instrument here in Durban South Africa which has had no tonal change since installation in 1921. We have only maintained the instrument, new leather pouches pipe cleaning and adjustments but no tonal changes. And I agree they are lovely instruments. One of the local builders, Colin Hele, was in one day for a tuning and commented on the cornopean which he stated was the finest he had ever heard. It is in the swell box and with the box closed sounds like an oboe but open the box and it roar much better.

Anyone visiting Durban and wanting to try it out contact me  and I will make arrangements.

Peter Carruthers

Stamford Hill Methodist Church


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I remember the old Abbott and Smith in St. Paul's in Huddersfield - before the church was turned into a concert hall and the three manual Philip Wood put in. The organ was in a chamber on the right hand side of the, then, chancel. A reasonably large three manual with a big battery of Swell reeds, I played for a college service in there which included, the inevitable, Magnificat and Nunc in C by Stanford and the Parry anthem I was glad!  I suppose it would be around 1971/2. At that time the chapel hadn't been used as a public church for a long time, nor, indeed, as a college chapel and the organ had fallen into disuse, was not used for teaching, and was 'a little temperamental'  to say the least. However, most of it worked and the service went off without mishap - from the organ at least!  I'm sure that, even at that time, Keith Jarvis had the designs for the new organ which, of course, was not installed until 1977. 

It was a fine old beast which, and I know others will correct me if I'm wrong, was entirely scrapped when the chapel became a concert hall. 


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