One of our real treasures is the organ. It was originally built by Peter Conacher of Huddersfield in 1869. Like many small builders, Conacher bought in much of his pipework — in this instance, from Zimmerman of Paris; and these metal pipes are quite excellent, particularly the magnificently brassy reeds. The organ was rebuilt by Rothwell of Harrow in 1937. He introduced his own patent pneumatic action and quite unique console, in which the stops were controlled by keys placed between the manuals. The console can now be seen in the Reid Collection of Edinburgh University.
In 1986, the organ was again rebuilt — this time by Nicholson of Worcester. They replaced the pneumatic under-actions and couplers with electric actions. Five new ranks of pipes were added, including a Four-rank Mixture on the Great, and a superb 16' Bombard on the Pedal Organ. This stop is uncompromisingly French and, in the resonant acoustic, matches the other reeds remarkably well. The tonal finishing was provided by Dennis Thurlow, their renowned Director; and the restoration project was handled from start to finish by our Consultant, Robert Lightband. The result has been that St Mary Magdalene's Church has one of the best organs in a city that boasts several first class instruments.
On the organ casing, there are two plaques. The first is in memory of Frederick Hibberd who was Choirmaster for sixteen years. He died, aged 46, in 1900. The second plaque is in memory of David Macgregor, Choirmaster and Organist from November 1931 until July 1981. He died on St Mary Magdalene's Day — July 22nd.
For those who are interested in the inner workings of the Organ:
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