If you wish to find out more and make a donation, please visit our website at www.stbride.org.uk.
The historic pipe organ in St Bride’s Episcopal Church will undergo a complete restoration later this year.
The instrument, built in 1865 by William Hill & Son of London, was the first organ to be lawfully installed and used during worship in the Established Church of Scotland. Its original home was Anderston Parish Church, but following closure of the church, the organ was moved to St Bride’s and installed there in 1972 by Glasgow organ builder James MacKenzie.
It is considered one of the finest church organs in Glasgow, and is a rare surviving example of the work of one of the greatest 19th century organ builders. Although most of the instrument is still playable, 150 years of wear and tear, dust and damage have taken their toll.
The restoration, which will involve cleaning, repair and overhauling of all the pipework, mechanisms, bellows, console and casework, is expected to take up to six months to complete. The work, starting in July, will be carried out by the leading present-day organ builders Harrison and Harrison Ltd of Durham. This company specialises in historic organ restoration, and has completed similar projects at King’s College, Cambridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, London.
St Bride’s, in Hyndland Road, is a B-listed architectural gem in the heart of Glasgow’s West End. For over 100 years it has offered worship in the Anglo-Catholic and Scottish Prayer-Book traditions, and concerts featuring amateur and professional musicians are held there throughout the year. The church hosts recitals as part of Glasgow’s West End Festival each June.
The Organ Restoration Appeal was launched in 2014, and its Honorary Patron is Dr George McPhee MBE, long-standing Director of Music at Paisley Abbey.
Over the last three years, St Bride’s has raised 90% of the projected £150,000 cost of the restoration, and the fundraising continues. The church has received donations from The Edenhall Charitable Trust and the Douglas and Angus Estates, and grants from The John Pilling Trust and The ON Organ Fund. St Bride’s has also staged series of concerts in aid of the Appeal. The congregation has worked hard and given generously to meet the balance of the cost of the restoration.
The Revd Dr Kevin Francis, Rector of St Bride’s, said “This much-needed restoration will secure the future of this wonderful, historic instrument, and enable us to continue to use the organ in worship. It will also allow us to develop the musical life of St Bride’s, and to host many more concerts, thereby bringing joy to all music lovers.”
Max Hepburn, Organ Project Officer, said “We aim to use the restored organ to expand our community outreach, and bring more people to St Bride’s. The stillness, architecture, stained glass windows, music and fellowship all have something to offer everyone who comes here.”