Organs at St Gregory’s
The first organ
When St Gregory’s was opened in 1954, it was equipped with what was then a “state of the art” electronic organ. This was a considerable achievement, considering that everything in the church was built to a very tight budget. Whether it was a specific gift, or from specific fund-raising or provided out of general funds is not known.
The console was built by Alfred Davies, a local organ builder, but the electronics were provided by Peter Walker, an electronic engineer of considerable talent. Walker went on to found the Quad electronics company, famous for its electrostatic speakers and high-quality electronic products in the 1960s. His obituaries make no mention of his pioneering work with electronic organs. However, the instrument at St Gregory’s was the prototype of one commercially produced, sold under the name of “The Gregorian Organ”, a homage to the church where the prototype was installed.
Early electronic organs had a relatively short life expectancy – the technology was in its infancy, and components became unstable, causing the quality of the sound to deteriorate. To have lasted over 20 years was an achievement in those days, but by the 1970s it became clear that it needed replacement.