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St John’s United Reformed Church

Ipswich

The Organ

As part of our 25 celebrations we published a booklet containing the memories of those involved called: Memories of Rebuilding Together. We were particularly fortunate to capture the memories of our former Minster in charge at the time, and also of John Harding who was our organist for over 25 years covering the rebuilding. Both have since died.  Below is the story as told by the two of them. You can see the booklet by downloading it as a PDF file here


“The story of the organ is amazing,” says Bob Woods. “John Harding, a newly retired architect and splendid organist, came to us at just the right time. Putting the organ works on a shelf and having the console on an electronic umbilical cord was inspired.”

John Harding has written about this part of the story:

“The question of an instrument for the new church building arose and I was asked to join a small Committee to discuss this and make recommendations. After some investigation, it was decided to use the two-manual pneumatic action organ of 1916 (built by Bishops) from the old building as the basis of a new instrument. As there was no space in the new worship area for a mechanical action instrument, it was decided to put the action and pipe work on a shelf at the rear of the worship area, convert to electric action and provide a movable console on the floor at the front.

I was appointed Organist of the Church and commenced my duties in February 1989 when the new building came into use. The opening Recital was given by Michael Nicholas, then Organist of Norwich Cathedral, in April of that year. In planning the instrument, some additions were made to the specification and provision was made for two additional pedal stops (reeds) which, after extra money had been raised, were added in 1994 and inaugurated in a Recital by Peter Wright of Southwark Cathedral.

I felt very privileged to have had a major hand in the design of an instrument in the church where I was to be the organist. The organ has been pronounced very suitable for the building and because of its modest size and movable console has been much used for organ classes by the Suffolk Organists Association, URC Musicians' Guild and also the Diocese.” (John Harding)  

Organ Specification