This is a rare and charming organ representing the first facsimile English HW organ dating from before the 1800's.
This organ has had quite a history; according to various records this being the third church in which it has been located. It is difficult to ascertain whether the records are referring to the same instrument since it would seem to have been a two manual with a specification totally unrelated to the present specification and layout for some part of its existence. Certainly it has been in the current church since 1903 and at that time it was reported as being a barrel and finger organ which would imply a single manual instrument. It was repaired / restored in 1959 by persons unknown and in 1988 it was completely restored by William Drake who more recently, restored the famous Bridge organ at Christ Church, Spitalfields. The current specification quoted in the N.P.O.R. states that all of the pipework is by Avery with the exception of the new Sesquialtera and Cornet. The casework which is presented in a rather lurid red colour is gothic in style and dates from 1881. There is some evidence at the rear of the instrument that at one time there was a barrel mechanism. The instrument had pedals at one time but these were removed in the Drake restoration.
John Avery was quite a character and although he was a craftsman of considerable skills, his personal life was rather fraught with problems. In addition to being drunk most of the time, he was often in prison for debt and indeed, he died in the Giltspur Street Compter, London ( a prison for debtors as well as a house of correction). He was also reputed to remove pipes from organs he had already built and putting them in other organs.
However, despite this rather bad reputation, he produced excellent work when sober and solvent and his instruments included Winchester and Carlisle cathedrals as well as St Margaret's, Westminster. Whilst nothing of his larger instruments remains, there are still a few small chamber instruments in existence.
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