Cumbrian Society of Organists

Review : Visit to Organs in Carnforth, Hornby and Leck : 19 February 2005

The CSO event on Saturday 19 February 2005 was well attended, with all the “regulars” and a few welcome “irregulars” present. We began the day at Christ Church, Carnforth, where the organist, Ann Bond, introduced the instrument built by Walker and restored by David Wells in 2000. Ann demonstrated the two-manual organ of 19 stops with a short recital including the toccata from Messiaen’s Dieu parmi nous. There was then ample time for all to experiment as usual. It is comfortable to play, having, several modern accessories, but suffers from a very dry acoustic.

Carnforth Organ

After lunch we re-assembled at St. Margaret’s parish church in Hornby where there is a three-manual Abbot & Smith instrument of 34 stops, restored by Harrison & Harrison in 1986. The church is not as large as this would suggest, and the acoustic is somewhat better than Carnforth. Again, the organist, Peter Entwistle, described the history and supplied a printed description before showing off the full range of the instrument with a fine performance of Henry Smart’s Postlude in D.

Hornby Organ

Finally, we moved to St. Peter’s church at Leck, where Peter Entwistle once more provided an interesting introduction. He described the Hornby instrument as a “workhorse” compared with Leck’s “Rolls Royce” Harrison & Harrison with two manuals and 17 stops. The blower is extraordinarily quiet, which is understandable when you learn that it is located in a hut at the bottom of the churchyard, and the air is supplied through a duct between the graves. The said blower, (or to be more precise it’s engine-driven predecessor), was also responsible for the early demise of one former organist, whose clothes became trapped in the mechanism when he tried to start it. On a happier note, the organ itself lives up to all expectations, even if it is rather over-powered for the tiny building.

Our thanks go to Alan White for organising the event, and to Ann and Peter for their time and preparation to help make the day another successful outing.

National Pipe Organ Register Links

Christ Church, Carnforth
St. Margaret's, Hornby
St. Peter's, Leck