The Grand Organ of Albion United Reformed Church,
Ashton-Under-Lyne
Built by Lewis & Co, 1895;
rebuilt by Rushworth & Dreaper, 1953

The foundation stone of the Albion Church, Ashton-Under-Lyne was laid in September 1890. This Gothic style church opened on 16 June 1895 and cost £50,000. There was seating for 1,150 people and the stained glass was designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and installed by William Morris & Co.

The organ was built by Lewis & Co and completed in 1895. It cost £2200 and was the gift of local mill owner and Mayor of Ashton Mr Abel Buckley (1835-1908). The opening recital was given by the organist of Glasgow Cathedral,
Dr. Albert Lister Peace (1844-1912), on Tuesday 30 July 1895 at 8 o‘clock. The organ is situated on the south side of the Chancel, with two fronts facing north and west, made from designs by the architect of the church, John Brooke of Manchester.

Thomas Christopher Lewis (1833-1915) was initially trained as an architect and began organ building around 1861. The firm of Lewis & Co. was established in Brixton, South London in 1868, and by 1900 Lewis and his team of craftsmen had built around 600 organs which were famed equally for the exceptional quality of their workmanship and brilliant vibrant tone. Lewis was greatly influenced by the organs of Edmund Schulze in Germany and this is seen in his brilliant flue choruses and Germanic ranks such as the Geigen Principal and Lieblich Gedact. The influence of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll’s French symphonic organs is evident in Lewis’s use of harmonic flutes, strings and chorus reeds.


THE NEW CONSOLE ARRIVES MARCH 11th 1953


The T.C Lewis organ prior to restoration
THE ORGAN PRIOR TO RESTORATION 1953
(Dr. Norman Andrew at the console)
 

Organ Console into Albion Church

A contemporary document which was compiled by the members of the
organ restoration sub-committee to commemorate the rebuilding of the
organ contains the following description along with pictures of the rebuild:

    “During the 1930’s it was realised that at the very least, a complete renovation and cleaning of the internal parts of the organ was necessary. Unfortunately the 1939-45 war caused the suspension of any contemplated scheme, but the matter again came under review about 1948 when adverse reports on the condition of the organ were made after inspection and tuning.

The matter was taken up energetically by Dr. Andrew and the choir, and a
series of musical and social efforts spread over three years resulted in a
sum of £840 being realised.

The children of the Sunday School and branches co-operated in this scheme
by collecting ship halfpennies.


Mr Evans and Harmonic Flutes
MR EVANS (RUSHWORTH & DREAPER) FINE TUNES THE HARMONIC FLUTES

One estimate ran to £8,000 and the committee was compelled to revise
the list of requirements.
Fortunately the organ fund had benefited by a legacy from the late Miss Sarah Fisher: the church decided to allocate this to the fund which now increased to £3,500.

Eventually the tender of Messrs. Rushworth & Dreaper of Liverpool for £4,050 was accepted and the order was placed.

Work on the organ was completed by the end of April leaving time for minor adjustments etc. before the Dedication Service on 17th May.”

This description is accompanied by the photographs shown here, and the signatures of the Minister, Church Diaconate, Members of the organ restoration sub-committee, organist and members of the choir.

Albion Organ Console
                                          THE NEW CONSOLE 1953

The organ of the Albion Church was rebuilt in 1953 by Rushworth & Dreaper of Liverpool at a cost of £4050. A new console and electro-pneumatic action was provided and the only changes were the removal of the Tuba from the Solo box (elevated to an unenclosed position above it) and the borrowing of two stops on the Pedal Organ (Open Wood No.2 from Great Double, and Octave from Open Wood No.1). All of the original pipework is still in place and despite some small changes to the actual stop names, Lewis’s tonal scheme was treated with
great respect.


Organ Console 1953
MOVING THE NEW CONSOLE 1953


Meanwhile the minister and diaconate were mindful of the urgency of the situation, indeed of several situations concerning the church. A “Half Century” scheme was launched, one of the objectives being the restoration of the organ.

The sum of £2,500 was deemed to be a likely amount to expend, in the absence of any detailed estimate, and of this amount £1,660 was to be apportioned from the “Half Century” fund.

The scheme was successfully concluded. The “Half Century” fund passed £2,500 and the above amount was set apart for the organ.

A small sub-committee was appointed by the deacons to consider details of the organ scheme and tenders were invited from several firms of repute.

It soon became evident that the sum of £2,500 provisionally fixed for carrying out the work would be quite inadequate for any scheme that would justify the work of restoration.



TC Lewis organ restored 1953

THE ORGAN AFTER RESTORATION 1953
WITH NEW CONSOLE AND CLEANED FACADE PIPES


The church newsletter proudly noted that “Sunday 17th May will be a memorable one for the members of the Albion Choir. After the morning service, choir members presented Dr. N. Andrew F.R.C.O., with a musical cigarette box in the form of a miniature refectory table in commemoration of the re-opening and dedication of the organ, which took place at the evening service.”

The standard of Rushworth & Dreaper’s work is evident from the fact that the organ remains in working order
nearly sixty years on. Changes in fashion, particular in the inter-war years mean that few of Lewis’s larger instruments
have survived unaltered and the instrument at Albion Church remains one of the most
magnificent examples of Lewis’s work in the world today.



*PREMIERE RECORDING OF THIS HISTORIC INSTRUMENT AVAILABLE NOW*
(CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO FIND OUT MORE)


SPECIFICATION
Original Lewis stop names in brackets.
RD indicates changes by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1953

  PEDAL ORGAN
1. Acoustic Bass 32 [Quint 10 2/3] RD
2. Open Wood No.1 16 [Great Bass (Open)]
3. Open Wood No.2 (from 16) 16 RD
4. Violone 16 [Violon]
5. Sub Bass16
6. Octave (from 2) 8 RD
7. Bass Flute (from 5) 8
8. Trombone 16 [Posaune]
9. Tromba (from 8) 8 [Trumpet]
10. Tuba (from 47) 8 RD

CHOIR ORGAN (unenclosed)
11. Lieblich Gedackt 8 [Lieblich Gedact]
12. Salicional 8
13. Dulciana 8
14. Flauto Traverso 4
15. Harmonic Piccolo 2 [Piccolo Harmonique]
Octave
Sub Octave
Unison Off

GREAT ORGAN
16. Double Open Diapason 16
17. Open Diapason No.1 8
18. Open Diapason No.2 8
19. Harmonic Flute 8 [Flûte Harmonique]
20. Octave 4
21. Harmonic Flute 4 [Flûte Harmonique]
22. Twelfth 2 2/3 [Octave Quint]
23. Fifteenth 2 [Super Octave]
24. Mixture IV 19.22.26.29
25. Trumpet 8
26. Clarion 4
27. Tuba (from 47) 8 RD

SWELL ORGAN
28. Lieblich Bourdon 16 [Lieblich Gedact]
29. Geigen Diapason 8 [Geigen Principal]
30. Rohr Flöte 8
31. Echo Salicional 8 [Salicional]
32. Viola da Gambe 8 [Viole de Gambe]
33. Voix Celestes 8 TC
34. Geigen Principal 4
35. Flautina 2 [Flautino]
36. Mixture III 15.19.22
37. Double Trumpet 16
38. Horn 8

39. Oboe 8
40. Clarion 4
Tremulant
Octave
Sub Octave
Unison Off

SOLO ORGAN Enclosed

41. Harmonic Flute 8 [Orchestral Flute]
42. Concert Flute 4
43. Clarinet 8 [Clarionet]
44. Orchestral Oboe 8
45. Cor Anglais 8
46. Vox Humana 8
Tremulant
47. Tuba 8 (unenclosed) RD
Octave
Sub Octave
Unison Off


COUPLERS
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell to Choir
Choir to Great
Choir to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Solo to Pedal
Solo to Great
Solo to Swell
Solo to Choir

Pedal Compass 30 notes C-f1

Solo to Swell
Solo to Choir
Solo Octave
Solo Sub Octave
Solo Unison Off


Accessories

3 thumb pistons to choir
6 thumb pistons to Great
6 thumb pistons to Swell
4 thumb pistons to Solo
6 toe pistons to Pedal
6 toe pistons to Swell
Rev Thumb pistons Great/Pedal, Swell/Pedal, Choir/Great,
Swell/Great.
Rev toe pistons Great/Pedal, Swell/Pedal, Trombone.
Combination couplers: Great & Pedal pistons (drawstop), Pedal to Swell pistons (switch)
Balanced expression pedals to Swell and Solo


The actions are electro pneumatic
Manual Compass 58 notes
C-a3 (keyboards 61 notes) manual keyboards extend to c4, top 3 notes silent
Pedal Compass 30 notes
CC-f1
 
Lewis Organ - The Albion Church
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE ALBION CHURCH WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ORGAN

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