St Philip’s Church Organ

The organ of St Philip’s was completed in February 1939, replacing a Telford organ built in 1896, which is now in All Saints’ Church, Grangegorman. The new organ made use of theatre organ technology, and reports at the time considered it to be state of the art. Unfortunately, the experimental electric action has not stood the test of time. It is extremely complex and though – remarkably – most of it still works, there are a considerable number of dead notes, which are very difficult to fix, given the complex design.

The organ badly needs a complete modern rewiring, as in its present state it is not only unreliable but is potentially dangerous, given the poor condition of the electrics. In addition, the organ console is in very poor condition and its cramped positioning in the floor-pit is not ideal. The redesign of the action and replacement of the console presents the opportunity to redesign sympathetically some of the more eccentric aspects of the organ which, in keeping with the fashion of the 1930s, is more suited to playing transcriptions of orchestral music than accompanying the liturgy or playing organ repertoire.

St Philip’s Select Vestry has sought tenders for a complete renovation, which will fit the organ with a modern reliable action and console and expand on the present scheme to make the organ more versatile for accompanying the liturgy. The renovated organ will maintain all of the character of the present organ, sympathetically augmented, and will make an excellent instrument, uniquely versatile in its tonal palette.

David O’Shea

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