organ153 - Birmingham Organists' Association

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organ 153

March 2015

3 manuals
32 speaking stops

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Elvet Methodist

Nelson & Co, 1934
H E Prested, 1974
Harrison & Harrison, 1997


Elvet Methodist

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The church is situated on Old Elvet, just a short walk from the historic centre of the city, near to Durham Prison.  "Elvet" is derived from an Old English word meaning "swan" and the nearby pub The Swan & Three Cygnets is a reminder of the historic name given to this part of the city.

The city's "other" organ builder, H J Nelson & Co, was founded in 1880 by an enterprising employee of the more famous firm of Harrison & Harrison.  Originally running the business from his home, Nelson had by 1902 acquired a small factory in Holly Street.  The firm was taken over and the works closed in 1967.

During the 2014 IAO Congress, Elvet Methodist was used as a venue for a Masterclass taken by Francesca Massey (Sub-Organist of Durham Cathedral).  The organ was heard in music by Herbert Howells and C├ęsar Franck played by students Daniel Ashmore and Jonathan Legg (see right photo).

The organ is currently maintained by Harrisons, who re-leathered the four wind chests in 1997.  This followed a 1974 rebuild by another Durham-based organ-builder, H E Prested, who had previously worked for Henry Willis.  The action is electro-pneumatic.  The organist here is Professor Brian Tanner.

You can listen to Durham Cathedral Choir sing Stanford's B flat Te Deum as March 15's Music of the Month

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