St Werburgh's Roman Catholic Parish, Chester

[Organ pipes]

The Organ

In 1924, the prolific and renowned Leeds Organ Builder James Jepson Binns, a disciple of Schulze, was commissioned to provide a three-manual organ for Queen's Park High Parish Church, Glasgow (later renamed Crosshill Queen's Park Church) at a cost of £2,700. It was the gift of Mrs Jane Scouller, a local publican, in memory of her husband John and was dedicated on 15th January 1926. The church was closed in February 2000 but, thankfully, this historic organ was rescued and given a new home here in St Werburgh's Church. The instrument was originally built with tubular-pneumatic action. Organ builders George Sixsmith & Son Ltd, Hillside Organ Works, Carrhill Road, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyme, completely refurbished the instrument and, whilst retaining the Binns windchest pneumatics, converted them to electro-pneumatic. A detached three-manual and pedal console in solid oak incorporates all modern aids to registration. The solid oak main case, with its non-speaking gilded pipes, was designed by Andrew Sixsmith and manufactured in the organ builder's workshops. It is a fine example of British craftsmanship.

The Swell, Great and Pedal Divisions, together with the High Pressure Tromba unit, are mounted on a platform above the main entrance at the rear of the Church and the Choir Division is housed in a chamber behind the St Werburgh Screen, adjacent to the Altar steps. The instrument is controlled by digital transmission from a three-manual drawstop console, situated in the opposite side aisle of the church to the Choir Division. The console positioning affords the organist clear views of the main entrance (via a mirror), Altar and Sacristy exit. Installation commenced on 7th January 2004. The church now has a fine instrument to complement its own grandeur.

The Opening Organ Recital was given by Professor Ian Tracey, Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool City Organist, at 7.30pm on Saturday 19th June 2004. He played to a very large audience.

Overture to the Occasional Oratorio - G.F. Handel
Arioso & Andante - J. H. Fiocco
Prelude & Fugue in C (BWV 546) - J. S. Bach
Chorale Prelude on "Ich stehe mit eine fuss in grabe" - J.S. Bach
Scherzo in G minor - M. E. Bossi
Suite Modal - F. Peeter
Psalm Prelude Set 1  No. 3 - H. Howells
Toccatina for Flutes - P. Yon
Toccata from Suite for Organ - G. Mushel
Encore: Toccata from Organ Symphony No.5 - C. M. Widor

Ray Harper
St Werburgh's Principal Church Organist


An account of the organ by Roger Fisher on the web site of George Sixsmith. (First published in Organ Scholar, 2005)

Technical specifications of the organ