Holy Family Christian Heritage Project

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Organ History

Holy Family Church is one of the oldest buildings in New Wortley and was opened in 1895. The pipe organ is an architectural organ which appears to have been installed when the church was built and designed for  the organ chapel. An extract from the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement of Saturday 10th August 1895 in describing the church says "On one side of the sanctuary there is a lady chapel and on the other a choir and organ chapel". If there is an organ chapel it implies there is an organ!

The organ has been surveyed by Dr J P Rowntree, a member of the Association of Independent Organ Advisors and Director of Choir and Organist, Douai Abbey on behalf of the Leeds Diocese for whom he is organ advisor.

He described it as "an instrument with tonal qualities of much charm and architectural curiosity" and that "tonally the sound is of an organ earlier than the middle of the 19th century" He says that "this is an intriguing organ of historic significance, musical attractiveness and liturgical utility. It also has architectural curiosity and it seems to have a relationship with the Leeds Town Hall  in that the case echoes the Cuthburt Broderick case of the Gray and Davidson pipe organ in that building.

Organ front radial false pipes

The organ is listed on the National Pipe Organ Register and research of the Register has shown it to have a stop specification for the swell organ identical to an Abbott and Smith organ at the Anglican Church in Epworth (see the stop specifications here). Abbott and Smith were a Leeds based organ builders but their premises burnt down and records were destroyed. We have visited the Epworth organ and it has been twice restored and now appears to be much more modern than the organ at Holy Family. We noticed that AS initials were evident inside the Epworth organ and we hope to find out more about the makers and designers of our parish organ when restoration starts.

It would appear that the organ in Holy Family Parish Church is older than 1895 and certainly contains older and high quality pipe work. Dr Rowntree thinks that it could be that an older chamber organ has been extended to form the current organ. The organ has never been restored and is original condition. It has been regularly maintained and tuned by Malcolm Spinks, organ maker in Morley Leeds.

Our Organ Renovation

Origin and Development

Organ History

Press Release 16th October 2012 doc

YEP Article November 2012

Organ Survey pdf

Organ Builders Quotation pdf

Organ before removal
(sights and sounds)

Removal on 5th and 6th November 2012

Visit to the workshop on 23rd January 2013