The Organ

The church organ has fulfilled a central role in the liturgy of St. Gregory’s throughout its history. As we have seen, in those early days of the late 1940s, despite the physical limitations imposed by the temporary church, High Mass, Compline, Solemn Benediction were regularly celebrated. The musical accompaniment, however, was a harmonium. As the building of the new church progressed, Father Phillips determined to purchase an organ suitable for it. Cost precluded a full pipe organ, but it was a time when electronic organs were being developed for church use and it was an electronic organ which was installed. The installation was undertaken by A E Davies & Son, Organ Builders of Campbell Square and Byfield Road. This firm, of national repute, worked with  another firm of high repute, The Acoustical Manufacturing Company of Huntingdon, headed by Peter Walker, who was a pioneer in the design of electronic church organs. The organ for St. Gregory’s was very much a prototype, and its design became known as “The Gregorian” Organ. It is recorded that the installation came as a surprise to Bishop Parker when he came to open the church, but the organ was undoubtedly a success and also it was a source of interest. The “Northampton Independent”, marvelling at the absence of pipes, published a photograph solely of the Control Box!  By 1980 the organ was beginning to show its age, and Father Marks  had it rebuilt. Again the contract was with  A.E.Davies, who worked this time with Grant, Degens & Bradbeer Ltd,  another Northampton firm of organ builders. The existing console was retained, and the new organ was built with a limited but effective range of pipes on the left-hand side of the console. One of its able young designers was Kenneth Tickell, who later set up an independent organ building business, which still flourishes in Rothersthorpe Terrace. He is also a fine musician, and was Director of Music at St. Mary’s Church in Northampton for several years. The total cost of the new organ was just over £11 000. It served the parish exceedingly well for a quarter of a century, but was finally replaced in ????  Please follow this link to the pages on the present organ.