Restoration of the organ at St James, Bermondsey, South East London.

Built in 1829 by James Bishop, this was one of the largest organs in the country, in one of the largest new churches, and for a long time had the most complete Pedal organ, as well as other innovations either unique or most unusual. It had lain partly dismantled for the last 50 years, but amazingly, most of the original parts survived, at least in part or altered, strewn around the unused spaces at the west end of the galleries of the church. Bishops had made some alterations in 1877, including turning a GG organ into a C organ. In 1975, Bishop restored the Great organ, and in 2002 Goetze and Gwynn restored the organ as close as possible to 1829 condition.The advisor was Ian Bell. The organ is a wonderful survival, and will illuminate a period of music when church music was becoming more elaborate, classical forms were being expanded for greater expressive content, and the music of J.S.Bach was being explored for the first time in Great Britain.

GREAT

CHOIR

SWELL

PEDAL

Open Diapason

Open Diapason

Open Diapason

Double pedal pipes

Open Diapason

Dulciana to gamut g

Open Diapason

Unison pedal pipes

Stop Diapason

Stopped Diapason

Stopped Diapason

Trombone

Principal

Principal

Principal

 

Twelfth

Fifteenth

Cornet 5 ranks

 

Fifteenth

Flute

French Horn

 

Sesquialtera 3 ranks

Cremona treble

Trumpet

 

Furniture 2 ranks

Bassoon bass

Hautboy

 

Trumpet

     

Clarion

     

Couplers: Swell to Great, Swell to Choir, Choir to Great, Great to Pedals, Choir to Pedals

3 composition pedals to Great Organ (full Great, Great without reeds, Diapasons)
reversing shifting movement pedal for shutting off all the Swell Organ stops except the diapasons
swell pedal (louvre swell shutters, ratchet for open position)

Great and Choir: GG f3
Swell: G f3 (GG F# play Choir keys)
Pedals (including finger keyboard): GG - g
Pitch: 432Hz at 15C

The tuning was fixed from Swell pipes which appeared to have original lengths. It is a modified form of the (approximately 1/5 comma meantone) system described by Bishop in a notebook he started in 1807.

The lower of the Swell Open Diapasons is a smaller scale than the upper. The Bassoon is from GG d the Cremona from d# - f3. However, the pipes change shape (and sound) between b and c1.

Despite the name, the Swell Cornet has no Tierce rank. The Great and Choir Stopt Diapasons, and the Choir Flute, are open wood pipes from c1 up. The Swell Stopt Diapason is stopped (with pierced stoppers) to the top.



Return to Previous Page