The T C Lewis Organ at St Columba's

 

Services at St Columba's were initially accompanied by a harmonium.

In 1907 the present instrument was built and installed by the firm of T C Lewis of Brixton, London. At that time there were a number of well established organ building firms in and around York and with the contract being awarded to a firm in another part of the country perhaps suggests the seriousness that the consultant T.T. Noble and the committee took in the matter of the provision of a musical instrument.

 

T.C. Lewis instruments are well designed and are solidly built using the finest quality materials and they are to be found in all parts of the British Isles. Some notable instruments were even exported to Australia.

The 'Lewis Sound' fills the space with a liberal quantity of rich, warm, organ tone. It is bright without sounding shrill and each instrument is supplied with a good selection of soft, medium and loud stops. They are never underpowered.

 

St Columba's was used as a garrison church and one can imagine the musical effects of the downstairs pews and upstairs gallery full of soldiers singing lustily. From the photograph taken shortly after the installation, it can be seen that the organ predates the two vestries and that their subsequent design compliments the curved aspect of the case.

What can no longer be appreciated, due to the removal of the original pulpit, is the sheer volume of sound which greeted anyone standing in the pulpit while the organ was being played! 

 

The instrument originally had tubular pneumatic action and a detached console. This served well with only minor repairs carried out in 1973, 1977 and 1988.  

It was extensively renovated in 2008 by Andrew Carter of Wakefield who re-leathered the bellows, electrified the key and stop-action and added a solid state capture system.

A Fifteenth replaced the Lieblich Bourdon on the Great soundboard with the new spotted metal pipe-work made replicating Lewis pipe-scales by Terry Shires of Leeds.

 

A new blower and humidifier were installed during 2013.

 

Specification

 

Great                                        Swell                                        Pedal

Large Open Diapason    8          Open Diapason             8          Open Bass        16

Wald Flute                    8          Stopped Diapason        8          Sub Bass          16

Dulciana                       8          Echo Gamba                 8          Flute Bass        8

Octave                          4          Vox Angelica                8         

Harmonic Flute              4          Octave                          4          Swell to Pedal

Fifteenth                       2          Super Octave                2          Great to Pedal

                                                Contra Fagotto              16        

Great Octave                             Oboe                            8          Four divisional pistons to Sw, Gt and Ped.

Swell to Great                           Tremulant                                  Eight general pistons    

                                                Swell Octave                             Eight level capture system

                                                Swell Sub Octave                      Great and pedal pistons combined

                                                Swell Unson Off

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