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The earliest account of an organ in the church tells us that an organ was built in October 1864 by Messrs. J. W. Walker and Sons for the sum of £115.  It had one manual and pedals and the stops were Bourdon 16', Open Diapason 8', Dulciana 8', Stopped Diapason 8', Principal 4', and a Sub Bass 16' for the pedals taken from the Bourdon.

In 1882 the Hughenden Memorial Fund, commemorating Benjamin Disraeli, paid for a new organ (the “Memorial Organ”) which was dedicated on Easter Day of that year. The organ was now an instrument of two manuals and pedals and cost £360 plus a further £5 to decorate the front pipes.

The pipework of the 1864 organ together with additions was incorporated into the rebuild of 1882.  The work was again carried out by Messrs. J. W. Walker and Sons and represents a fine example of their workmanship at that period. Such was the quality of the pipework that it was not necessary to make any tonal alterations in the 1979 rebuild.

By the mid 1970s the 1882 action was beginning to show serious signs of wear as well as becoming very heavy and it was clear that is wasn’t going to stand up to the heavy demands being made upon it.  A restoration appeal for £14,000 was launched in December 1977 with the Rt. Hon. Edward Heath, M.B.E., M.P. as Patron and within a year sufficient money was raised for much of the work to be carried.  Messrs. Hill, Norman & Beard were given the contract and the work commenced mid April 1979 and was complete by mid August.

A new electro-pneumatic action replaced the tracker action and minor tonal alterations were made, but care was taken not to destroy the tonal character of what has always been a splendid instrument. Electric action meant that extension of the pipework was possible, and reference to the new specification shows how this was achieved.

A gem of this rebuild was the addition of the Nason Flute on the Swell Organ. The 56 pipes for this stop cost £600 including the installation, and was paid for by specific donations for the cost of a pipe from individuals and families. These  pipes  came  from  the organ  now  in  the  Church  of St. Peter ad Vincula, in the Tower of London, the organ having been moved there in the late 19th Century from the Banqueting House at Whitehall when this establishment was granted to the Royal United Service Institution as a museum. It is therefore possible, although not certain, that these pipes were made by the famous organ builder ‘Father’ Bernard Smith for the organ which he built for the Banqueting House in 1699.  

From programme notes written by Raymond Isaacson for the Inaugural Recital given on 6th October 1979 by Roy Massey.

Organ Specification Recording pre-1979 rebuild Recording post-1979 rebuild St. Michael and All Angels, Hughenden   © 2016