The organ

Organ console

We have a strong musical tradition here at St John’s Wood Church, and the organ is a vital component of this. Played by our Director of Music Michael Cayton, we have an unusually large and flexible instrument for a parish church.

Around the year 1820, the first instrument was installed in the gallery over the porch by Flight & Robson of London. It was a two manual instrument with a short compass, and was removed to St Nicholas Church, Harpenden in 1862. St John’s Wood Chapel (as it was then) appears to have been without an organ until around 1900, when an instrument was purchased from St Paul’s Church, Bedford. Built by Hill & Son in 1879, it incorporated some Flight & Robson pipework from the previous instrument in St Paul’s.

Pencil diagram of organ pipes

While the building did not itself sustain substantial damage during the Second World War, the same blasts which destroyed the original stained glass took its toll on the organ. A rebuild (including the addition of the third manual) was carried out by J. W. Walker & Sons at a cost of £6,350 (around £150,000 in today’s money), and the organ was dedicated on Easter Day, 1st April 1956.  Since the 1980s, maintenance and improvement of the instrument have been a constant consideration for the PCC. Hill, Norman & Beard installed a solid-state capture system in 1990, while the engines for the swell stops were replaced by B. C. Shepherd & Sons in 2010. In 2014 the organ was extensively renovated by Bishop and Son of London with some minor tonal alterations; The wind pressures were lowered and four new ranks were added to the great (trumpet, sesquialtera and flute chorus).  For a list of the stops and full specification of the instrument today please visit its page on the National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR) website