Church Organ

The Organ at Greenside

The Greenside organ was built by Ingram & Co. in 1933 at a cost of £1,600 and was opened on 8 October of that year by Dr. William Baird Ross of Broughton Place Church. It has two manuals and 21 speaking stops, the original action from console to pipes being electro-pneumatic.

The previous organ, bought second-hand from Harrisons in 1885, was situated in the gallery.  It was blown by hand and almost certainly had mechanical action.  It was sold to St.Margaret's, Dumbiedykes, in 1933, according to the Session Minutes of both churches.

Apart from routine maintenance and tuning, nothing further was done to the present organ until 1964 when the then organist and choirmaster, Edward Robinson, wrote to the Kirk Session a report on the state of the instrument ending it as follows:-

"Finally, from a personal viewpoint, it is extremely embarrassing and nerve-wracking to sit Sunday after Sunday not knowing if the organ will last out the service.  Also having to attend at the Church almost every other Saturday either with the Organ Company or alone to correct some minor fault is expecting rather a lot of the Organist."

The Kirk Session took note and Henry Willis & Son Ltd. thoroughly cleaned and overhauled the organ and completely re-electrified the console doing away with the pneumatic action.  The cost was £1515 7/6.

In 1992, Henry Willis & Son Ltd. suggested several tonal changes and re-voicings but the Committee on Artistic Matters recommended that these changes were unnecessary with the exception of the following:-

1. The Great Fifteenth was reckoned to be too "Flutey" and should be changed for a new rank of pipes which would brighten up the Great Chorus.  The Fifteenth is the highest sounding stop on the organ (nominally 2')

2. The Great Dulciana should be loudened during tonal finishings.  The Dulciana 8' is the quietest stop on the Great Organ (unenclosed) and is normally used to accompany the Oboe stop on the Swell Organ (enclosed).

Work commenced at the beginning of August 1993 when the organ was handed over to Ivor Norridge and Jim Smail of Rushworth's.  It is only when the organ is taken to pieces that one realises how many different parts there are - over 1000 pipes; each manual or keyboard has 61 notes; there are 30 pedals, 21 draw-stops for the speaking stops plus another for a tremulant, 8 draw-stops for couplers, 8 adjustable thumb pistons .........and so it goes on! 

Everything has to be cleaned thoroughly!  The original keys to the console and the cupboards were found under the pedalboard when it was taken away to the workshop for renovation.

So, for almost the whole month of August the organ fell silent and the praise at Greenside was ably led by Muriel Aird from the piano.  I began to get a little twitchy around the beginning of September - I suppose that I was suffering withdrawal symptoms - and I started to regularly visit the church.  Imagine my delight one day in early September when I walked into the church and heard the lovely sounds of pipes being tuned.  Not only did all the pipes have to be retuned but a new rank of pipes had to be voiced - that is a real expert's job!

I think that it was fitting that the first service with the newly renovated organ was the Joint Service of Holy Communion with London Road on 12 September 1993.

I would like to thank the Kirk Session for heeding my pleas to have the organ cleaned and trust that it will give many more years of good and faithful service in leading the praise in God's house at Greenside.

For those of you who would like to know the whole specification, it is reproduced below! The organ always was top of my pops before I joined Greenside and I now realise what a lovely instrument it always has been - and the renovation work really has been worthwhile. It is a real joy to play!!!

Mike Thomson


Organ specification