In recent week my travels as a recitalist and consultant have taken me to three churches with unusual and thought-provoking organ cases. Today is a good example, where the chunky 3-manual Harrison & Harrison at St Botolph’s church, Boston, Lincs (Boston ‘Stump’) speaks out from behind this curious façade. Amazing it gets out at all, but the audience at my lunchtime recital seemed to enjoy what they heard, so all was well.
Hidden in the countryside near Alderley Edge is the tiny – exquisite – church of St Catherine, at Birtles. Here, an eccentric nineteenth-century ‘squarson’ incumbent had three organ case made entirely of salvaged timbers and carvings. They are an extraordinary confection (especially close-up) and the central case has nothing in it – but a fire-place beneath it!
At the other end of the country, I found that St Saviour’s, Dartmouth has a unique organ case by Paul Micheau of Exeter, dating from c.1787 and set up then in the church’s spacious west gallery. Moved to its current unfortunate home on the north side of the chancel in 1888, much of the case has been hidden ever since behind the equally fine carved oak screenwork behind the choirstalls on that side. Oh that it could be seen once more in its full splendour!