ORGAN OF THE MONTH 17: November 2003

Hatherton United Reformed Church, Walsall (Nicholson & Lord, 1891)

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Hatherton URC (originally Walsall Presbyterian Church) houses a 2-manual instrument by Nicholson & Lord.  Mr Nicholson himself played at the dedication service on 23rd November 1891.  Its principal interest lies in the fact that it is entirely unaltered tonally since its original construction.  This Walsall-based firm was responsible for much good quality work in the area and beyond at about this time.  The firm survived until 1950, when it was taken over by W J Bird & Son of Birmingham, who eventually sold out to Nicholson & Co of Worcester.  The Walsall and Worcester firms both had their origins in the family business established by Richard Nicholson of Rochdale in 1816.

In spite of the fact that the organ needs a well overdue rebuild, it still makes a good sound and is tuned regularly by Lloyd & Haynes of Bilston.  There are no playing aids apart from mechanical combination foot levers.  An electric blower was installed in 1916 following complaints about the organ blower "sending undesirable substitutes when unable to attend himself"!  The original lever to control the swell box was replaced by a balanced swell pedal in 1948, when Hawkins last overhauled the instrument; however, the control remains on the extreme right (see photo, above right).  Rather more troublesome for the visiting organist is the non-standard pedal clavier which is not even straight but radiates in the opposite direction to normal!



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Last modified: November 02, 2003