The Good Shepherd, Tadworth

The Pipe Organ Restoration Appeal

by Robert Stewart (Director of Music) February 2017

The Church of the Good Shepherd has served the community of Tadworth for over 100 years, and an important part in this ministry has been played by the pipe organ built by Abbot & Smith of Leeds in the late 19th century and installed in the church in 1912.  The organ leads our music in worship by supporting congregational singing, accompanying the choir and soloists, and providing voluntaries. Apart from Sunday Services, it is regularly in use at weddings, funerals, local school events and other musical concerts involving the local community.

The last major work on the organ was in 1981 and, after extensive and continuous use the instrument is now becoming unreliable and urgently requires a major cleaning and overhaul. The out of date electrics are failing, the action is noisy, slow and rapidly becoming increasingly problematical, and some pipework needs repairing and re-voicing. We are therefore embarking on a major rebuilding project that will restore the instrument, and further improve the versatility of the organ.

Having taken advice from the Diocesan Organ Adviser and the Organ Builders, we have identified the essential work which needs to be addressed. This includes: the cleaning and overhaul of all pipes (over 1000) and the organ’s interior, restoration of all soundboards and the action, refurbishment of the console, replacement of the old electrical switching system with a new digital solid state system, provision of a steadier wind supply, repairs to the wind trunking, replacement of the noisy tremulant mechanism, installation of a modern swell box motor, and re-painting of the display pipes in the organ case.

This will provide a great opportunity to enhance the organ and further improve the organ’s ability to support the liturgy by including additional tonal colours. Indeed, it is only at the time of a major rebuild that improvements to an organ may be considered. This will involve: two new mutation stops, a new three rank mixture to replace the existing unsatisfactory stop, provision of a clarinet stop, new trumpet and clarion stops available on both manuals and a pedal trombone to improve weight in the bass.

In addition, this would involve moving the organ case and pipework about one metre forward into the chancel to enable the organ to speak much more effectively down into the nave of the church, and support congregational singing. There will be some enhancements to the organ case and sight lines from the nave will not be adversely affected.

The organ has been central to the Good Shepherd’s musical life for many years, and its musical heritage includes a strong choral tradition with youngsters and adults being taught to sing as members of the choir.  Crucial to this choral activity is of course the organ and, without a musical instrument in good condition, this tradition could fail.  The Organ Committee is determined not to let this happen, and with your financial support the musical life at the Good Shepherd could be further strengthened for the future.  A total of approximately £140,000 is required for the rebuild and improvements to the organ.

If you can, please do help in supporting this appeal so that future generations can enjoy and be enriched by our great church music tradition. There is a lively programme of concerts and events being developed to raise money for the appeal, and in addition to supporting these events, you might consider making a personal donation. After all, it's up to all of us as the COGS Congregation to come together and make this happen. With faith and perseverance, we can!

For a technical descripton of the works and photographs, click here