St Mary & All Saints, Chesterfield
(Willis 1963, Wood 1988, 2001)

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Two BOA Council Members found themselves visiting Chesterfield during one weekend last month.  If you have ever passed through the town on the train from Birmingham to the north-east, you will have noticed the extraordinary crooked spire of this, the parish church (see centre photo).  Organist Ian Brackenbury very kindly agreed to give us access to its impressive organ, comprising 3864 pipes, for an hour on the Saturday evening.

The original organ of 1756 by Snetzler was destroyed by fire in 1961.  Much of the present instrument, incorporating just three of the original Snetzler ranks, came from the City Hall, Glasgow and was the work of Lewis dating from 1905.  Henry Willis III installed it here in 1963 as a three-manual, but Wood of Huddersfield restored the original fourth manual during the 1988 rebuild, together with some tonal additions.  New blowing plant was installed in 2001.

If you have never heard this fine instrument (the Lewis pipework, with its high percentage of tin, adds a silvery quality to the softer stops and brilliance to the choruses), do try to make the trip to Derbyshire!


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Last modified: April 30, 2008