Visit to Organs in Keswick and Borrowdale
27th January 2001

Review by "Tracker"

A January event always has the possibility of appalling weather and few members turning out. In fact not only was the weather very reasonable but we had the largest number of members ever attending a visit to organs. There were 24 of us: Peter and Ann Wood, Doug Scott, Don and Margaret Street, John Day, Anne Ernmett, Jane Easterby, Barry Crosthwaite, Hugh Davies, Sam Hicks, Ron Craig, Sam Carradice and parents, Chris Price, Doris Bodicott, Chris Bell, Brian Eaglesfield, Anne Maguire, Clare Mingins, Nigel Donaldson, Alan White and Colin Rae.

Chris Price, who organised the visit sensibly avoided visits to St. John's and Crosthwaite, whose organs are already known to most of us. Instead we visited Threlkeld Church which contains what is obviously a very old instrument of six stops with matchstick pedals connected to the manual keys by pull-downs. The tone was delightful and just right for the 18th Century. The next call was Keswick Methodist Church which has a 2m Pendlebury organ with a detached console. The organ seemed originally to have had a tracker console within the organ case. It has an impressive Great diapason chorus although the swell was rather retiring. Baxter Shaw is the organist, now retired as organist of St. Jarnes, Whitehaven.

Keswick Methodist Church
Keswick Methodist Church

Keswick Congregational Church failed to open for us so we headed for an unscheduled stop at Grange. There was generally more interest in the church than the electronic organ. In particular its pews from Windermere are very beautiful. Sarn Hicks kindly gave us a brief history of the church. Finally we arrived at Borrowdale Church where the organ has been lovingly developed by Sarn Hicks (who plays at Grange also). Some of us inspected the works and about a dozen of us played during the day. Before returning home we enjoyed tea and scones and a live hearth fire at the Royal Oak at Rosthwaite. We are very grateful to Chris Price for the opportunity to play organs we had not previously played.

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