History of the Organ at Stranton

Stranton organ: A history

The organ in All Saints' Parish Church, Stranton was built in 1889 by Abbott and Smith of Leeds at a cost of £800, It is the only organ in the immediate area by this builder.

Being significantly larger than the instrument which it replaced, a separate building chamber was built to house it.

The Abbott and Smith organ had 3 manuals, pedals and 26 stops. The actions were mechanical to the manuals and pneumatic to the pedals. In 1949 the organ was cleaned by JJ Binns, but no major changes were made, except the addition of a blower, until 1961/2,

After 72 years of constant use, the organ underwent a major reconstruction by another Leeds firm, Binns, Fitten and Haley. The actions were converted to electro-pneumatic and a new detached console was fitted, allowing it to be moved to the Fulthorpe Chapel, along with a new blower and revised wind system. A Bass Flute stop was added to the pedal and the Great Bourdon was made playable on the pedal. The Posaune stop which was moved to the choir organ in 1962and re-named. Trumpet was restored to the Great in 2005 following water damage. More recently, the console has been returned to the pipe chamber and further revisions have been made to the winding.

The organ at All Saints' Church is one of the few instruments by Abbott and Smith to retain largely unaltered pipework and would respond very well to a comprehensive restoration. Some of the work done in 1961/2 has changed the sound of the organ because the wind pressures had to be raised to make the new action function properly. It is hoped that it might be possible to return the organ to its original sound by modifying the action and returning the pressures to their original values. The console and wind system also require urgent restoration to keep the organ in a reliable condition.

The opening recital in 1889 was given by WT Best.

The Program for the opening recital after the 1962 rebuild, was given by Conrad Eden as follows:

  • 1a. Fugue in G minor - J.S.Bach
  • 1b. Trio in D minor- J.S.Bach
  • 2. Andante in f major - W.A.Mozart
  • 3. Sonata No 2 - Paul Hindenith
  • 4a. Berceuse - Bedrich Wiedermann
  • 4b. Scherzo - Enrico Bossi
  • 4c. Allegreth grazioso - Frank Bridge
  • 5. Toccata - Arther Milner

Alfred Peacock was the organist from 1948, for 54 years, retiring officially in 2002. During his time, Alf mentored a numbered of people musically, but probably most notably Daniel Cook, who in 2014 became Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey.

Further information about the Organ at All Saint's Church can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

Further information about Daniel Cook can be found at www.danielcookorganist.com.

Rooted in Godís love, Growing together with Jesus, Branching out in the power of the Holy Spirit 
All Saints' Church, Stranton and Burbank Community Church, Hartlepool