ORGAN OF ROCHDALE TOWN HALL - CONSOLE
ROCHDALE TOWN HALL
The cornerstone of Rochdale Town Hall was laid on 31st March
1866 and the magnificent Grade I listed Gothic building designed by George
Gilbert Scott's pupil, William Henry Crossland (1835-1908) of Leeds was
opened on 27th September 1871.
GREAT HALL (SHOWING FRESCO BY HENRY HOLIDAY)
initial estimate for the building of the Town Hall was £20,000,
but by completion this had risen to a breathtaking £160,000. This
vast overspend meant that the Great Hall was left with a space in the
three gothic arches behind the stage of the Hall for a Grand Organ.
THE GRAND STAIRCASE
The centrepiece of the Town Hall is the Great Hall. It is approached by
a Grand Stone Staircase and remains one of the most magnificent municipal
rooms in Britain. Every surface contains rich detail including a hammer-beam
roof decorated with carved golden angels and roof panels depicting the
arms of England and Ireland, a priceless collection of stained glass with
portraits of the sovereigns of England, and a vast fresco by Henry Holiday
depicting the signing of the Magna Carta.
GRAND STAIRCASE CEILING
NEW ORGAN (1913)
organ was finally built in 1913 by J.J Binns of Bramley Leeds. It was
donated by Alderman Sir Samuel Turner J.P. (1840-1924) former Mayor
of Rochdale and local businessman and philanthropist. On Saturday 2nd
November 1912 The Rochdale Observer announced 'NEW ORGAN FOR THE TOWN
HALL' accompanied by a full description and a sketch of the proposed
organ will occupy the recess at the back of the platform and will be,
as was expected, an instrument worthy of the donor, and of the town.
It was reported that Alderman
Turner has been advised by a committee of organists of the borough including
Mr. B. C. Crossley (Organist at the Parish Church), Councillor Diggle,
Mr James Duckworth, J.P., and Mr T. Elvyn Kershaw. J.J. Binns of Bramley,
Leeds was the chosen builder.
It is worth noting that Sir Samuel Turner's place of worship,
the former Baillie St. Methodist Church, had a large instrument built
by Binns in 1892. (right)
Jepson Binns (1855-1929) was one of the most prolific organ builders of
the early 20th century. He left school at the age of 11 to become an apprentice
at Radcliffe & Sagar in Leeds. From 1873 he worked for Abbot &
Smith as a voicer before founding his own company in Bramley, Leeds in
1880. Binns was an accomplished singer and organist; he composed several
hymn tunes and, in his youth, was offered a position with the Carla Rosa
Company due to his fine baritone voice. His musicianship, combined with
his tireless energy and personal attention to his numerous instruments,
meant that he created some of the finest examples of British organ building
with a reputation for excellent voicing, reliability and no-expense spared
design. His instruments built between 1890 and the First World War are
regarded as Binns' greatest work and the organ of Rochdale Town Hall is
a supreme example of this golden era.
BINNS' ORDER LEDGER (ORGAN No. 703)
The Organ of Rochdale Town Hall appears as Organ No.703 in Binns' account
It is for an instrument of 53 speaking stops and 3018 pipes (almost identical
to the earlier organ No. 503 at The Albert hall, Nottingham) and was one
of the largest organs built by Binns. The organ was built with tubular
pneumatic action throughout with organ cases made of oak to designs by
the borough architect, Mr Hathaway in conjunction with Binns to match
the existing woodwork of the Great Hall
ROCHDALE TOWN HALL ORGAN CASE
opening recital was given in the presence of King George V and Queen Mary
on Wednesday 9th July 1913 by Herbert Walton (1869-1929), then Organist
of Glasgow Cathedral, former organist at the Binns organ in St. Marks
Leeds and consultant for Binn's' organ at St. Aidans Leeds.
The opening Recital Programme was as follows:
ET Chipp -Introduction & Variations on the Austrian
Boccherini -Minuet in A
Bach - Fugue Alla Gigue
Liszt - Liebestraum in A Flat
PJ Mansfield - Fantasia on Scottish Airs Op. 65
Meyerbeer - Schiller March
Schubert - Serenade
Hollins - Morceau de Concert
Wagner - Overture Tannhauser
From the most delicate stops to full organ, the instrument speaks clearly
into the Great Hall. The diapason chorus distinctly reflects the voicing
of Schulze whose work Binns had studied first hand in several rebuilds
and greatly admired. The solo stops, particularly the harmonic flute chorus,
are beautifully voiced and the control available from the swell boxes
ORGAN REBUILD (1979)
At the dawn of the 1970s it became evident that a thorough rebuild would
be needed and the 'Town Hall Organ Restoration Committee' was created
and succeeded in raising modest funds as well attracting funding from
the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust on the condition that the organ be kept
in regular use and be made available for the benefit of Rochdale townspeople
The organ was rebuilt in 1978-9 by J.W.Walker & Sons Ltd
The instrument was given a new electro-pneumatic action with modern playing
aids and the keyboards were inclined. The instrument was re-opened in
1st December 1979 and remains one of the finest musical instruments in
the world as well as a superb example of J.J. Binns' craftmanship.
BINNS ORGAN (BAILLIE STREET, ROCHDALE)
OF THE THREE ORGAN CASES
PEDAL PIPES (INSIDE)
ORGAN CASE (DETAIL)
CONSOLE (WALKER PLAQUE)
JONATHAN SCOTT PERFORMS WAGNER'S TANNHÄUSER
(ARRANGED BY EDWIN LEMARE) AT THE ORGAN OF ROCHDALE TOWN HALL
gives me great pleasure to bear testimony to the high-class voicing and
general excellence of the organs erected by
Mr. J. J. Binns, of Bramley. Mr. Binns is undoubtedly one of the most
successful artists in tone production we have,
and I have no hesitation in placing him in the front rank of English organ
E. H. Lemare, Esq., F.R.C.O., A.R.C.M., Organist Carnegie Hall, Pittsburg,
CENTENARY RECORDING OF THIS HISTORIC INSTRUMENT
NOW - CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Organ of Rochdale Town Hall, J.J. Binns, 1913
rebuilt J. W. Walker & Sons LTD, 1979
ORGAN - 10 stops - 175 pipes
1. Double Open Diapason 32' (to FFFF lowest 5 acoustic)
2. Great Bass 16'
3. Violone 16'
4. Bourdon 16'
5. Echo Bourdon 16' (from 33.)
6. Flute Bass 8' (from 4.)
7. Violoncello 8' (from 3.)
8. Octave Bass 8' (from 2.)
9. Trombone 16'
10. Tromba 8' (from 9.)
CHOIR ORGAN - 9 stops - 537 pipes
11. Lieblich Bourdon 16'
12. Geigen Diapason 8'
13. Lieblich Gedact 8'
14. Aeoline 8'
15. Unda Maris 8' (ten. C)
16. Flauto Traverso 4'
17. Flautina 2'
18. Clarionet 8'
19. Vox Humana 8'
Tremulant - Octave - Sub Octave
GREAT ORGAN - 13 stops - 915 pipes
20. Double Open Diapason 16'
21. Large Open Diapason 8'
22. Medium Open Diapason 8'
23. Small Open Diapason 8'
24. Hohl Flute 8'
25. Dulciana 8'
26. Flute Harmonic 4'
27. Octave 4'
28. Octave Quint 2 2/3'
29. Super Octave 2'
30. Full Mixture III (15.19.22)
31. Trumpet 8'
32. Clarion 4'
ORGAN - 14 stops - 964 pipes
33. Lieblich Bourdon 16'
34. Open Diapason 8'
35. Rohr Flute 8'
36. Viol d'Orchestre 8'
37. Vox Angelica 8'
38. Voix Celestes 8' (ten. C)
39. Suabe Flute 4'
40. Salicet 4'
41. Piccolo 2'
42. Mixture III (15.19.22.)
43. Contra Fagotta 16'
44. Horn 8'
45. Oboe 8'
46. Clarion 4'
Tremulant - Octave - Sub Octave
SOLO ORGAN - 7 stops - 427 pipes
(enclosed except 53. TUBA)
47. Violin e Cello 8'
48. Flute Orchestral 8'
49. Flute Orchestral 4'
50. Piccolo Orchestral 2'
51. Oboe Orchestral 2'
52. Corno di bassetto 8'
53. Tuba 8' (on 10in wind)
Octave - Sub Octave
ACCESSORIES (1979 Rebuild):
Thumb Pistons: 6 each to Choir, Great, Swell & Solo
6 General Pistons
Reversibles for Ch/Ped, Gt/Ped, Sw/Ped, So/Ped, Sw/Ch, So/Ch,
Ch/Gt, Sw/Gt, So/Gt, So/Sw, Pedal Trombone
General Cancel, Capture Set with Lock Switch
Toe Pistons: 6 each to Pedal & Swell
Reversibles for Gt/Ped, Sw/Gt, Pedal Trombone
Balanced Expression Pedals for the Choir, Swell & Solo Organs
Solo to Swell
Solo to Great Octave
Solo to Great
Solo to Great Sub Octave
Solo to Choir
Swell to Great Octave
Swell to Great Unison
Swell to Great Sub Octave
Choir to Great
Swell to Choir
Solo to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Gt. & Pedal pistons
Man.Compass: 61 notes
Ped. Compass: 30 notes
53 sounding stops
Great: 915 pipes
Swell: 964 pipes
Choir: 537 pipes
Solo: 427 pipes
Pedal: 175 pipes
Original 1913 Accessories:
3 Interchangable Pistons to Gt. & Pedal organs
1 fixed piston giving full Gt. & Pedal organs
3 Interchangable Pistons to Swell organ
1 fixed piston giving full Swell organ
3 Interchangable Pistons to Choir organ
3 Interchangable Pistons to Solo organ
8 Combination Pedals duplicating Gt. & Sw, Pistons
Double acting Pedal for Great to Pedal
Double acting Pedal for Swell to Great
The organ is currently in the care of Andrew Carter (Organ Builder) and
regular recitals are presented by
Oldham, Rochdale & Tameside Organists' Association
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