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St. John's Smith Square


Terry
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The main case of the St. John's organ came from St. George's Capel in Great Yarmouth after it was made redundant in 1972. Apparently it was presented as a gift from Sir Duncan Oppenheimer. I am intrigued to know how he acquired it. Any information you may be able to provide would be much appreciated. The organ builder that dismantled it in Great Yarmouth was Gerry Egan a one time employee of HN&B

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I did wonder whether one of our London (or East Anglian) members might know some of the answers to your questions from any contemporary material at the time of the installation of the Klais.  I’m pretty certain that the late David Drinkell, sadly no longer with us, would have had some background.

But to clarify some points.  The church was St George’s Church, but latterly came to be referred to as Chapel.  It is now totally converted to secular use. 

Sir Duncan Oppenheim (that’s the correct name: even my iPad spellcheck tries to convert it to Oppenheimer) was quite a remarkable man: artist (exhibiting at the Royal Academy), arts administrator, businessman and philanthropist. He was born in the north of England and lived to the great age of 98.  The most surprising thing is that he held roles as different as both the Chairman of Chatham House and the Chairman of the British American Tobacco Company. There are Oppenheim families in East Anglia, including the area of Great Yarmouth, but whether any immediate family connection is not obvious.  So, purely as a guess, I suggest that this came about from a combination of his artistic and philanthropic gifts.  Having said all this, I don’t know, and it will be very helpful if someone can be more specific.

 

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