organ111 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 111

September 2011

4 manuals
57 speaking stops

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St Bartholomew

J F Schulze & Sons, 1869
JJ Binns, 1905
Harrison & Harrison, 2003

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Following last month's Organ of the Month, your Webmaster also recently visited a second famous Leeds organ, the historic instrument known throughout the organ world as the "Armley Schulze", to hear Dr Christopher Newton give the August Bank Holiday recital.

The organ was built in 1869 for T S Kennedy of Meanwood Towers, Leeds.  A special wood-frame "organ house", large enough for some 800 people, was built to accommodate it.  But in 1877 the organ was loaned to St Peter's Harrogate, and in 1879 it was installed by Brindley & Foster in its present location in the north transept of St Barthomolew's Armley, when two additional Pedal stops (a Sub Bass 32ft and Principal Bass Wood 16ft) were supplied by Schulze

The famous Leeds firm of J J Binns rebuilt the organ in 1905. Binns was a great admirer of Schulze's work and (fortunately for us) aimed to preserve the organ's musical character.  The instrument was cleaned by Hill, Norman & Beard in 1956 and local firm John T Jackson electrified the stop action in 1976. The last major work, by Harrison & Harrison, was completed in 2003 following an appeal for funds that lasted very nearly 30 years!

The outstanding tonal qualities of this instrument are widely appreciated and were much in evidence during Dr Newton's recital.  If there are any organ enthusiasts reading this who have yet to make the "pilgrimage" to Armley since the H&H rebuild, do go and hear this instrument for yourself!

The church houses a most interesting exhibition containing historical information and photographs about the organ and its reconstruction.  Also present are the original stop jambs made by Schulze (click above for a detailed view).

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