St James Little Clacton
St James Little Clacton St James Little Clacton St James Little Clacton St James Little Clacton
    St James Little Clacton  

History of the Church Organs at St. James' Church Little Clacton

In November 1861 Sir Stephen Glynn mentions an organ in the
gallery. The next mention was in 1898 when the accounts record
the organist was paid £1 a quarter.

In 1899 Gildersleeve of Bury St. Edmunds cleaned the organ
and in 1903 Speechley and Son tuned and regulated it.

In1904 a bill from Mr.Beard states ‘to out of pocket expenses
to cure cypherings 15/6’.

In 1905, N and B repaired the bellows and 1906 Thomas Jones,
Upper Holloway fixed new rods to swell pedal and lined and
repaired it. By 1909 the organ was looked after by Bedwell,
a Cambridge organ works with a branch in Bournemouth.

If this was the same organ as in 1861 it must have been in a
poor state as a fund was started in 1917 for cleaning. In 1919
Mr. Bedwell was asked for estimates. Whether this work was
done is not known but in 1937 the PCC thought another new
or good second hand organ should be bought.

In 1939 the accounts record that a deposit of £100 was
paid to Bedwell and Son as a deposit and in April that a
final payment of £60 was paid.

At the same time it would appear
from our records that the Rev. Wontner and Mr. Cheeld, the
organist at the time, were also
in correspondence with Bishop
and Sons of Finchley Rd. London.

Whether or not the actual organ
was supplied by Bedwells or
Bishops is not clear but we do
know that the organ put in was
from Waltham Abbey and was
re-erected in St. James in 1939.
This is illustrated in the enclosed photograph.

St James church organ

In 1946, Bedwells was still looking after the organ and it may
then have been electrified as there are bills for the blower case.

This organ was a grand organ and necessitated the former
Singers Gallery at the West end of the church being removed.
It was a Walker organ and is said to have made ‘an absolutely splendid sound’.

Sadly, this fine Walker organ had something of a sad history.
It occupied the West Gallery and when the interior of the church
was re-ordered, the original intention was to store the instrument
and reinstate it in the church. It was stored in containers outside
the church building and at this period suffered considerable
vandalism- so much so that it was impossible to restore it to the
church. Eventually it was sold to Christchurch, Greenwich for £200.
A smaller organ was installed, the gallery was once more opened
up and this is the current situation as this is written. (Oct. 2007)

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