Church organ going strong to tune of a hundred years

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A SPECIAL celebration has been held at Trinity Church to mark the 100th year of its grand pipe organ.

Back in 1911 – a week after Cornet Lockie Thorburn had completed his duties and just days before the Coronation of King George – the new organ first accompanied the church’s praise at two services of dedication.

Almost 100 years to the date last Sunday, the congregation marked the special milestone with organist Jamie McKenzie playing a specially chosen piece.

And boasting 1,182 pipes, the organ – which was built by James Jepson Binns of Bramley Organ Works in Leeds – has never required any major work throughout the past century, and been praised for showing little signs of its age by the church minister.

Rev Michael Scouler said: “James Jepson Binns was known as a perfectionist.

“His organs are particularly forthright in their speech and are also noted for the superb robustness of their construction, so robust indeed that he was known in the trade as Battleship Binns.” He went on: “Costing just £651.10s for the organ and blower and additional display pipes for the case, the organ has given 100 years of mostly trouble-free service without any major work apart from occasional cleaning and repairs. Clearly it has proved of excellent value.”

Highlighting that the organ case and pulpit are the work of Hawick joiner Alex Inglis who also takes the credit for the beautiful carved wood round the pulpit, Rev Scouler commented: “The organ’s historic value is greatly enhanced by the fact that it survives unaltered, and thus is a splendid example of the work of its builder and period.”

Mr Scouler says the only change made to the original organ occurred when the Eastbank Church became home to the new Trinity congregation in 1959, and the console (or keyboard) was moved, and rotated, from where the communion table now is to its present position.

He added: “The organ has been a wonderful asset to worship down the years and a very large number of organists have sat at the console and greatly enjoyed the quality of sound it produces.”