St Mary’s Church Colton
It’s did you know time, and this month I have been putting together a few interesting facts about the organ.
The first organ of 1851 was incorporated into the present organ by the organ builder G.M.Holdich of London, and was dedicated on the 25th March 1879. The recital, that day, was given by the builder himself, Mr Holdich. One hundred years later in 1979 a centenary birthday celebration recital took place and the organist was Robin Mathams.
One has to remember that the organ would be hand blown, or pumped, by a strong arm member of the congregation. “Graffiti” can be seen on the side casing of the names or initials of the young strong men who performed this task. Hand blowing would continue until 1950, when on the 14th June 1950 an electric organ blower was dedicated to William Ezra Cooper, grandfather of Dorothy Bradbury.
Situated on the front of the organ is a small brass plaque:
George Sackville Parker
George Sackville Parker was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He was the brother of Frederick Perrot Parker, rector of St. Mary’s from 1874 to 1921, and author of the “History of Colton and the de Wasteneys Family”.
The Rev. Parker lived at the old rectory, with his two sisters Harriet and Eleanor. Miss Harriet was a fine craftswoman, especially with wood, and she painted the organ pipes as you see them today. The pipes that can be seen from the body of the church are dummies, but the art work is very fine.
Miss Eleanor was a fine musician; she was choir mistress, and played the organ. Eleanor tutored Cecil Ravenscroft, a well known family of Colton, to play, and he eventually became the organist of St. Mary’s.
Over the years, with improvement in central heating, it became evident that fluctuations in atmospheric conditions were not helping the internal workings of the organ. To rectify this problem a humidifier had to be installed, this automatically keeps the internal climate of the organ constant and in tune. The organ today is maintained by John Oaks of Meir Heath, a long established firm of organ builders.
Mrs Ann Clendon is the present day organist, and has been for over 40 years, with added support from Allen Barnett and Jason Walker, and a fine sound they all make.
Church is open every Saturday morning from 10-30 am if you would like to have a look around.