Monday, July 19, 2010

A report on the organ at St. James United Church, Montreal,
for the St. James History Project
April 2008


“The Organ: An Encyclopedia” by Douglas Earl Bush and Richard Kassel, says that the organ of St. James United Church in Montreal was built in 1891 by “Warren and Sons of Ontario” (pg 620)4 So does a history of the church – The People of St. James, Montreal, 1803-1984 by the Rev. Nathan H. Mair published privately in Montreal in 1984.

This information is wrong. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that the organ at St. James was installed by E. D. Wadsworth and Bros., one of the great international organ builders of the 19th century.

In fact, the 1891 Wadsworth organ at St. James is an instrument of enormous historic value and it is approaching a state at which a complete overhaul is increasingly urgent.

The intention of this report is to explain why the organ should be repaired and preserved, and to attempt to determine the best approach to fixing it. There appear to be some issues that if resolved could provide the church, the community, and the world’s organ lovers with another 100 years or more of service from a versatile concert instrument with a great history and enormous significance for Montreal.

This instrument dates from the beginnings of organ building in Canada, when the field was much more diverse and competitive than it is now. Over the years, people of great significance in Canadian musical history have played the St. James organ, and the design of the instrument itself is a window into a major turning point in the history of organ building. In looking at the story of this organ it is clear that it could become something extremely rare; a very large living artefact of musical history.

St. James is an exceptional venue for its size, outstanding acoustics, and location, down the street from Place-Des-Arts in the thriving cultural centre of Montreal. It seems likely that it will have an important role as a concert venue in the coming decades with this instrument in fully functioning condition.

Throughout England, France and Germany, historic organs are increasingly being dismantled or refurbished beyond recognition. While the reasons may vary, what is clear is that few of this size remain which have not been changed to the point where their original design is no longer recognizable.

The type of instrument which is most useful today is a concert organ such as St. James, with the versatility to command a great deal of repertoire. What makes St. James organ especially valuable is that it bears all of the hallmarks of its famous builder, and has a unique character which is largely missing from modern-day concert organs and older ones which have been refurbished.

When this organ was built, the art of organ building was at an advanced state of development. The instrument is essentially equipped to play any organ style adequately, and most styles exceptionally. Once restored, it would be an outstanding international concert instrument with unique character, as well as an artefact of great historical interest in the organ world. The focus of repairs should be on maintaining and restoring the original builders’ intentions, and making the organ more resilient.


The contract for the St. James organ bears the name of E. D. Wadsworth and Bros, who at the time of its construction were based in Manchester, with offices in Aberdeen, London, and briefly, Montreal.

Edward Wadsworth, the founder of the company, belonged to a group of organ builders operating in the north of England in the mid 1800s.

One of the major events in the history of organ building in England was The Great Exhibition of 1851 (the first world’s fair of the industrial age) where 14 organs were displayed at Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.

The English builders who attended the event were able to witness first hand the building style of French, German and Italian organ makers.

The French organ, from the firm Ducroquet, introduced many mechanical innovations such as octave couplers, a pneumatic lever and a Harmonic Flute, as well as the heavy use of reeds; of the 20 stops seven were reeds and those on the Great had a distinct pressure applied to them. Wadsworth and other builders began adopting and incorporating these innovations soon after.

But it was the German organ, designed by Edmund Schulze, which was the most influential, with tones and pipes that excited the English builders a great deal. Pipes with wide flutes and softer Gedackts and Gambes had a huge impact on English organ building.

The presence of magnificent Rohr and Hohl flutes on the St. James organ is evidence that Wadsworth was subject to the German influence either from his own participation in The Great Exhibition, or from the great English builder Jardine under whom he studied who was a promoter of German innovations.1 By 1862 Schulze was famous in England and was hired to build the great organ at Doncaster Parish Church, now Minster.

The builders from the North of England of which Wadsworth was one were considered more adventurous than their London counterparts, and this is how they attracted business away from London. By the 1860’s some had become global producers of organs, especially the Wadsworth firm. There are Wadsworth organs from this period in Madison Wisconsin (1863), Rio de Janeiro (1861), and later Wadsworth organs in Marist College, Canberra and in Natal, South Africa, where Timothy Wadsworth opened a branch in 1930.4

It has been suggested that in his lifetime Wadsworth developed a good relationship with the French organ builder, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899)), which would have made him an expert in the French style. David Wyld, an employee of another English organ builder Henry Willis and Sons Ltd. wrote in a discussion of Wadsworth:

“Cavaillé-Coll died in 1899 and had had a working relationship with Wadsworth for a long time - the Solo Organ at Manchester Town Hall was added for C-C by Wadsworth, all of the stuff having been sent over from France. Wadsworth had quite strong French leanings and another prime example was the ex. Royal Manchester College of Music instrument which we rebuilt in Ruthin a few years ago.” -- posted by henry willis
(The specification for the Ruthin instrument can be found in Appendix C)

The combined effect of all of these influences is present in the St. James organ, where the best in 19th-century German, French and British innovations combine to create an instrument with a strong range of tones in its flutes and a dark, brooding sound with a powerful low range, capable of producing exceptionally smooth crescendos that swell seamlessly from the bass. The organ has a wonderful range of dynamics and textures, containing many pipes which were made in England well over a century ago.

This was clearly demonstrated in a 2007 performance of Jehan Alain’s Litanies by St. James organist Philip Crozier. In the final minute of the piece, the addition of reeds was not detectable as anything other than the smoothest ramping up of sound which seems to sprout from under the floor.

It’s clear that the influences of the time in Northern England, when Wadsworth was developing his organ-building style, and the many great influences he cultivated during his expansive career made St. James organ what it is.

This organ is outstanding, unique and worthy of preservation and restoration. It has an exceptional sonic character. It combines the organ-building methods of the greatest European masters when they were at the peak of the craft. And it combines an interesting story with a touch of mystery, as sources indicate ours was possibly the last organ Edward Wadsworth ever built.

Moreover, Wadsworth organs seem to have acquired that indescribable quality where they are prized for their obscurity. Further research shows that the number of churches claiming theirs as ‘the last remaining Wadsworth organ’ is becoming an increasingly strong field. It seems this builder has an appeal beyond his great skills and the great success of his company, which flourished globally from 1860 to 1946 and built organs on most continents.

Many churches boast proudly of their own piece of his history. Wadsworth organs have become almost ‘hip’, or ‘cool’. The work of Edward Wadsworth and his descendants is a worldwide network of rare and historic instruments to which St. James proudly belongs, and should hope to belong for years to come.


The organ that forms the base for the present instrument at St. James United Church was originally built by the firm of Edward D. Wadsworth & Bros of Montreal (also of Aberdeen, London & Manchester). The contract for a new three-manual and pedal organ was signed in 1888 but the instrument was not completed to the satisfaction of the church until 1891, at a cost of $12,550 less $2,375 in exchange for the old organ from the previous church. A copy of the specifications was discovered by my colleague Jeff Rock at the Archives nationales du Québec and forwarded to Le Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec .

It is not surprising that it took three years to build the organ at St. James. An organ is an extremely complicated piece of machinery. In Bach’s time the only machines which occasionally surpassed the complexity of organs were clocks. One of the best descriptions of what happens when a finger touches a key or a foot touches the pedal is in Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson’s wonderful novel about the origins of computers and fibre-optics. It describes what an organ looks like behind the display pipes when a young man with a taste for mathematics helps his father repair one.

“For each stop – each timbre, or type of sound, that the organ could make (viz. blockflote, trumpet, piccolo) – there was a separate row of pipes, arranged in a line from long to short. Long pipes made low notes, short high. The tops of the pipes defined a graph: not a straight line but an upward tending curve. . . .The pipes sprouted in parallel ranks from a broad flat box of compressed air. All of the pipes for a given note – but belonging to different stops – lined up with each other along one axis. All of the pipes for a given stop – but tuned at different pitches – lined up with each other along the other perpendicular axis. Down there in the flat box of air, then, was a mechanism that got air to the right pipes at the right times. When a key or pedal was depressed, all of the pipes capable of sounding the corresponding note would speak as long as their stops were pulled out. . . .Stops were rarely used alone. They tended to be piled on top of each other in combinations that were designed to take advantage of the available harmonics (more tasty mathematics here!). Certain combinations in particular were used over and over again. . . . The organ included an ingenious mechanism called the preset, which enabled the organist to select a particular combination of stops – stops he himself had chosen – instantly. He would punch a button and several stops would bolt out from the console, driven by pneumatic pressure and in that instant would become a different instrument with entirely new timbres.”
(page 8, Crytonomicon, by Neal Stephenson, Harper Collins 1999)

It is not entirely clear whose hands in fact built the organ at St. James. Edward Wadsworth signed the contract in 1888 with St. James Methodist Church (as the church was originally called), but there is scant evidence of his prolonged residence in Montreal, other than a listing for his business on Craig St. (now St-Antoine) in Lovell's Directory. Sources indicate that he died in 1890, while the organ at St. James was still under construction.3

Frederick Archer, the celebrated British-born American organist, was engaged to oversee the installation, according to Karl J. Raudsepp in Orgue Wadsworth (1891), Warren (1909) et Casavant (1938) Église Unie Saint-James, Montréal, Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec, mars 1987.

Mr. Archer, who, among other accomplishments, founded the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, died shortly after the St-James project ended. During his time in Montreal he also inaugurated the new Casavant organ at Notre-Dame Basilica (PC: in 1891).

The new St. James organ had a detached console facing the case pipes. My colleague Melissa Bull has noted that above the pipes, the organ loft was illuminated by a concave stained-glass window in a steel frame that was lit in turn from windows in the attic of the sanctuary.

But the organ was not fully installed when the sanctuary opened for worship in 1889 and for several years afterwards it was not fully paid for.

The organ’s blower mechanism was hydraulically powered, a system essentially unchanged since the Roman Empire. My colleague Olivier Couturier has researched the question and discovered that a hydraulic organ is operated by two people, one of whom operates the air pump and the other plays the instrument.

“The person operating the pump moves a lever which connects to a compressor inside the compressor chamber that has two holes,” Mr. Couturier wrote in a report. “One of these holes allows air to enter the compression chamber. The other hole funnels the compressed air to a tank that is filled with water. The water in the tank assures that the air would not flow back into compression chamber so it has to go to the pipes. The person operating the keyboard would press down on a key or keys. This would lead to a series of mechanical actions directing that the air be fed from the water tank into the pipes.”

At St. James, it required continual supplies of water from the city pipes “and a human “blower” neither of which was always available at the right time “as church historian Nathan H. Mair noted. (What may be the original hydraulic mechanism is still in the church basement where it was rediscovered by church maintenance worker Pablo Gonzalez. This warrants further study).

The first worship service in the sanctuary of St. James took place on June 16, 1889.

But Mair reports that “in March 1890, reports reached the Quarterly Board that Mr. Hilton, who had been organist in the old church and had moved with the congregation to Saint Catherine Street, was unduly harsh with some of the young people of the choir. A delegation was sent to iron out the difficulties. These were temporarily resolved . . . but Mr. Hilton resigned” in 1891. (The People of St. James, page 60.)

The church split the functions of organist and choir director from 1891 to 1894 and then decided to return to the old system hiring W. I. Birks for both functions. The new organist’s job description specified: “that he was to undertake the duties of organist and Choir Master of the Church, and to provide at his own expenses the singers needed for the building up of a more efficient choir; that he was to have three or more concerts each season to partly reimburse him for the expenses; that he was to take charge of the special services such as New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as also the anniversaries and all for the sum of $1,500 per annum with the use of the organ for pupils, they paying the cost of the water during lessons and practice, with the understanding that this expense is to be the utmost limit that we shall be called upon to face.”
(Minutes, Board of Trustees, St. James Methodist Church, 1889-1902, February 8, 1894)

Mair writes that “unfortunately, Mr. Birks proved not to have the character requisite for St. James at the time (he would drop in a drinking place nearby after choir practice) and he was dismissed as being a bad influence among the young people. The Music Committee was directed to secure as Birk’s successor, a Methodist and a teetotaller.” (The People of St. James, page 61)

In the next ten years the church ran through five organists, including another try by Mr. Hilton. The St. James history project spent some time analysing the trustees’ minutes for the period as well as examining the church music accounts under the guidance of my colleague Etienne Stockland. We discovered that there was a substantial number of paid singers in the choir and several documents signed by Lynnwood Farnham, one of the most famous organists to come from Quebec.

Farnham, who became one of the world’s great organists in the first half of the 20th century, is known for popularising the composers of his time, particularly the fine French composers.. Born in Sutton, QC, and educated in Dunham, QC, he was 19 when he arrived at St. James in 1904. It was his first professional job after three years on a scholarship in London funded by Lord Strathcona.

He left St. James within a year-and-a-half to play first at St. James the Apostle (Anglican) Church and then at Christ Church Cathedral before moving to the United States after the First World War. In 1920’s New York he was known as the leading organ virtuoso of his time on the continent. He was 45 when he died. Louis Vierne dedicated one of his organ symphonies to Farnam’s memory. Marcel Dupré wrote a piece in his honour as well.

There were several reasons why St. James could not keep its organists at the turn of the 20th century but the state of the church’s instrument was a major one and the church members responded. At a time when the church was desperately trying to find money to pay off the mortgage, there was a fund-raising drive for the organ and Andrew Carnegie contributed “the last half” of the $6,000 needed to repair it.

Raudsepp writes that “In November 1908, the firm of Warren Bros of Ontario began the job of rebuilding the organ at a cost of $6,000. A fourth manual, many new couplers and adjustable combination pistons were added. Numerous other changes were made as well, including the replacement of the original hydraulic blowing apparatus with an electric blower because it was found to be less expensive to operate ($175 annually for electric power in contrast to $233 annually for the cost of water, the supply of which was inconsistent). Lynnwood Farnam, who was organist from 1904-1905, visited the church on Tuesday February 15, 1910, after the Warren Bros reconstruction and pronounced himself not entirely satisfied with the result. “
Raudsepp Orgue Wadsworth (1891), Warren (1909) et Casavant (1938) Église Unie Saint-James, Montréal, Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec, mars 1987.

Nevertheless St. James became known as a venue for fine music. The St. James’ choirs – adult and children’s – rehearsed for and performed at two Sunday services and one on Wednesday evenings and appeared frequently at concerts and other functions. As well, the church, because of its excellent acoustics, was increasingly used as a concert venue. The first performance in Montreal of the Messiah according to Handel’s original score, for example, occurred at St. James in 1938, thirteen years after the nation’s Methodists helped found the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination and St. James became a United Church. By the 1930’s the church had its own youth orchestra as well..

But by the early 1930’s the organists had been complaining frequently about serious problems with the instrument. Plaintive requests from the organists were repeatedly refused. But after massive funds were raised and spent to improve infrastructure and reduce the size of the church hall to make room for offices and meeting rooms in time for the building’s 50th anniversary in 1937, Raudsepp says “a contract was signed with Casavant Frères Ltée to completely rebuild the instrument at a cost of $16,000 in July 1938. The original pipework was re-used with many new ranks added and all were placed on new chests. The existing case and display pipes were moved forward approximately two feet to accommodate the enlarged instrument. The present console also dates from this time.”

That’s when the stained glass above the organ pipes was taken down, the loft was cemented in and a special curtain hung over the pipes.

The Casavant Society instituted a concert series that sponsored young artists in recitals at St. James United and it should be noted that both Raymond Daveluy and Bernard Lagacé had their Montreal debuts here.

Over the years other organists like the legendary Italian Fernando Germani, Marcel Dupré and André Marchal of France and world-renowned E. Power Biggs and Simon Preston played on the instrument as well to great acclaim.
St. James has continued to have fine music. Several young singers like Maureen Forrester and Karina Gauvin went on to international careers after performing with the church choir.
And the church remains a popular concert venue, with its annual Summer Recital Series, the participation of Music Director Philip Crozier in the Orgues et Couleurs series and the marathon organ performance at the church held under the auspices of Les Nuits Blanches, which has become an annual event. Other classical music events like the Montreal Chamber Music Festival are held at St. James as well.
The church’s own gospel choir in residence – The People's Gospel Choir of Montreal -- has performed in regular worship and on solemn occasions like the anniversary of the Dawson shootings – and packs the building to capacity for its concerts. The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir regularly performs at St. James too. Many famous jazz musicians including Oliver Jones have performed repeatedly at the church.
Every Kid Choir, the childrens’ choir formed by the church in cooperation with the Montreal City Mission of the United Church which is based at St. James, sings regularly in the church and at special events all over Montreal,
And in 2004, the choir from Erskine and American United Church joined us at St. James when their church closed and its director – Jean-Sebastien Allaire – was appointed Choral Director at St. James under Mr. Crozier. From that church, they brought a small, portable organ – a modern instrument with a fine sweet tone made by Karl Wilhelm of St-Hilaire, QC, – that is used frequently in worship and in concert.
To mark the joining of the two choirs, the women choristers at St. James now wear the old red gowns of the former St. James choir and the men wear the blue gowns of the former Erskine choir.
The St. James organ is essentially unchanged since 1938.
In 1952, a new Nazard 2 2/3' was added to the Swell and other minor changes (cleaning and some re-voicing) have been made to the instrument since that time. The curtain that covered the top of the organ loft was taken down in the early 1980’s.
But as the decades followed, only the minimal maintenance was done to keep the instrument functional.
Now it is in deteriorating condition. At least $750,000 is needed for a complete restoration for this historically important instrument

A CHRONOLOGY OF ALTERATIONS AND REPAIRS (see attached letters) taken from the Archives of St. James’ and the Casavant Freres Archives in St-Hyacinthe

1888 – Contract for a new 3 manual and pedal organ from E.D. Wadsworth & Bros of Montreal, is signed. The instrument was not completed to the satisfaction of the church until 1891, at a cost of $12,550 less $2,375 in exchange for the old organ from the previous church.

1908, November – The church hires Warren Bros. of Ontario to rebuild the organ at a cost of $6,000. Half of this cost was paid with an endowment from Andrew Carnegie. The hydraulic blowing apparatus, which cost the church $233 annually and suffered from an inconsistent supply of water, was replaced with an electric blower which cost $175 annually in electric bills. A fourth Solo manual was added, and an Echo division which was played from this manual. The Echo was not controlling pipes in a separate chamber but rather shared pipes within the casements of the previous manuals. Many new couplers and adjustable combination pistons were also added.

1935 – The church begins investigating the idea of a major overhaul of the organ, and requests an assessment from Casavant Bros. The church board decides they cannot afford repairs at that date.

1937, August – Casavant Bros. carry out repairs to the organ:

Pedal Board Reconditioned
Four extra combination buttons added in the great key-slip
Swell and choir box shutters re-felted
Action and wind ways of the pedal Violone and Great Double Open Diapason repaired
Bottom octave of the Lieblich Gedeckt re-voiced
Iron pedals shortened in the knee-panel and expression pedals re-covered

1938 - April 25th Casavant Bros. provide an assessment of further work needed on the organ, wherein they suggest:

Replacement of the pipe valves, electric switches, console, and reservoirs, leaving only the pipes, case, blower, and wind chests untouched. The console was moved forward and the entire organ casing expanded to fit the new additions.
Removal of the lower notes of the 32’ Acoustic Bass, which were deemed “worthless” and which occupied needed space, leaving an acoustic bass of 12 notes
Fixing the low C and other notes of the metal 16’ basses, which were wired to stopped wooden pipes at that time
The Echo division, six stops played from the solo manual should have its stops redistributed to be more useful on a four manual scheme
The blower room be better ventilated and the steam-pipes passing through it to be covered with asbestos
Cost: $15, 300

1938 – June 29. In a letter to Casavant Bros. St. James decided to proceed. In addition to the above repairs, new ranks were added and all were placed on new chests. The existing case and display pipes were moved forward approximately two feet to accommodate the enlarged instrument.

1938 - July 19 St. James agreed to raising the price to $16, 000 for reasons not disclosed

1938 – Sept 14. The church moves to remove the remains of the glass dome, a structure of steel and stained glass which hung over the organ loft. Its condition had deteriorated to the point where pieces of glass were falling into the organ. At this point it was covered by a curtain as referred to in a July 22 ,1938 correspondence between Arthur Laing and Casavant Bros.

1952 – The organ underwent a complete cleaning, and the swell 8’ Vox Humana was replaced with a new 2 2/3’ Nazard. This work was done by Casavant Bros. who by this time were the dedicated custodians and nurses of the instrument.

1956 – The Carillon controls were integrated into the console by Schulmerich Carillons.

1970s – British ‘Solid State Logic’ electric couplers designed by Caron–Gagnon-Baumgarten Inc. installed.

Early 1980s – The curtain in the organ loft was taken down at the urging of organist
Tom Woolard Harris


In a letter dated Sept. 21st 1935. to Kenneth R. Cunningham, organist at St. James, from Casavant Bros after a thorough examination of the organ, the company wrote:

“Finally the writer would ask you not to expect too much of that old instrument, because it has always been troublesome. The chests are constructed in such a manner that any small shrinkage in the wood will cause humming ciphers, and wood however well seasoned will come and go from summer humidity and winter steam heat,” caused by “dry air forced inside the organ during winter.”

In a major overhaul of the organ in 1938, Casavant Bros. added several new ranks, which were all placed on new chests. But the old chests may not have been replaced. The first priority of any repair should be to replace any old chests, and also examine what can be done about the stability of air inside the loft. The temperature and humidity must be strictly controlled to preserve the integrity of the tuning and wood and leather parts. Bringing this aspect of the organ to the most modern standard should in no way affect its character or historical significance, and it seems obvious that it would represent huge savings for the church over the coming decades in maintenance, repairs, and tuning bills.
The organ loft should be reinforced as much as possible in anticipation of the fluctuations in environmental temperatures that are expected to increase, in order to maximize the value of all other repairs in helping the instrument last a long time.

A factor that must be taken into account if the wind chests are to be altered is the note channel. The diameter and suppleness of the note channel has a huge effect on the speaking character of the pipes, in their tone, attack and decay, and the balance of combined stops. The French style, with a flexible leather membrane on the underside that leaks air, makes for a gentler sound. The French builder Cavaillé-Coll favoured the older style of a hard walled note channel, with very narrow channels on the Bombarde and other reeds to produce a more metallic, buzz saw resonance. Since sources indicate Wadsworth was a colleague of Cavaillé-Coll’s, and carried out work on Cavaillé-Coll organs in England, we may have a clue to the kind of note channel originally present on the St. James organ. Certain designs of note-channel produce a feedback effect of air resonating in the cavity when low reeds are sounded in conjunction with mixtures, giving the upper mixtures a shimmering, flutter effect. Whatever the case, if any wind-chests are to be removed the original character of the note channel must be noted, and preserved or replicated to the very best of the restorers’ ability, so that this organ keeps its unity of character.

The second priority will be the restoration of as many of the existing stops on the organ as possible. Most have at least one missing note, and many have over a dozen, due to the removal of pipes. Some had contracted ciphers and played uncontrollably so the pipes were removed to avoid unwanted sounds. Other stops were eliminated because it was thought the space in the loft could be better used. These will have to be examined on a case-by-case basis. It may be possible to expand the organ loft vertically to reinstall the large 32’ Acoustic Bass stop which has been removed, and possibly other large stops which came with the original construction or the Warren addition. The cement ceiling above the organ bears no weight as this space was previously occupied by the decorative glass dome which was removed in 1938 (see attached photos).

The third priority will be to repair the console and modernize it with the addition of a multiple memory combination system. None of these repairs need largely affect its historic appearance, which should be preserved.

Beyond these, some new stops may be desired, or some very old ranks may be decaying to the point where replacement seems the best option. In any such adjustment, every consideration should be made to conform to Wadsworth’s original vision: ranks could be extended rather than having new ones added, and modern coupling options could be used to present a greater flexibility to the performer without committing the error of obscuring the balance of sounds and styles that Wadsworth has become famous for.


Many people contributed to this paper. It is the product of work by the team of the St. James History Project consisting of myself, Olivier Couturier, Etienne Stockland, Jeff Rock, Melissa Bull and Anna Phelan-Cox, with direction and contributions from Christopher Jackson and Rob Bull our leader. It would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of Simon Couture and Jean-Luc Hebert of Casavant Frères in diligently seeking out pertinent facts and going back again and again to investigate details we found were of interest. St. James organist Philip Crozier, as well as providing the recommendations below, was kind enough to allow us unfettered access to the inside and outside of the instrument that is his charge and help edit this report. We are thankful for the support and patience shown by the staff at St. James: Pablo Gonzalez, Pierre Beaudry, Anne Jones and Margaret McWhinnie. We are also grateful for the strong endorsement and support of this project by the church pastor Rev. Arlen John Bonnar, BA, B. Th., M. Div. and the Session of St. James United Church. But it would not have happened without funding from the Young Canada Works program administered by the Canadian Museums Association.

Recommendations of the current organist, Philip Crozier:
1) A modernised console with a multiple memory combination system
2) More upper work on the Pedals: 4' Choral Bass; 4' reed; Mixture
3) A Mixture and Larigot on the Choir, perhaps even a floating Positive
4) A 4' Flute on the Solo, possible also a Cornet de Violes
5) A good unenclosed Solo Reed
6) A 32' Flue on the Pedals (not quinted, perhaps by extension). A Sub Bourdon for example.
7) The Swell needs a good Mixture also, possibly two
8) Possibly a Cornet stop somewhere

Performers of note who have given concerts on St. James organ:
Lynnwood Farnham, organist at St. James
Fernando Germani
Andre Marchal
E. Power Biggs
Marcel Dupre


St. Matthew’s Isle of Man
Built by Ernest Wadsworth Limited, Manchester, 1922
Watkins and Watson Hydraulic Engine

Great—CC to C, 61 notes:

Open Diapason.8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Gamba, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Clarabal, 8 feet Wood, 61 Pipes.
Dulciana 6, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Harmonic Flute, 4 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Principal, 4 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Fifteenth, 2 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Trumpet, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.

Swell Organ—CO to C, 61 Notes:

Bourdon, 16 feet, Wood, 61 Pipes.
Open Diapason, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Viol d’ Orchestre, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Voix Celestes, 8 feet, Metal, 49 Pipes.
Rohr Flute, 8 feet, Wood, and Metal, 61 Pipes.
Solicet, 4 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Dulciana Mixture, 3 ranks, Metal, 183 Pipes.
Horn, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.
Oboe, 8 feet, Metal, 61 Pipes.

Pedal Organ—CCC to F, 30 Notes:

Open Diapason, 16 feet, Wood, 30 Pipes.
Bourdon, 16 feet, Wood, 30 Pipes.
Bass Flute (partly derived), 8 feet, Wood, 30 Notes.
Principal (partly derived), 8 feet, Wood and Metal, 30 Notes.

Couplers and Accessories:

Thumb to Great and Pedal Organs.
Swell to Great—-Three Pistons.
Swell Octave—Three Foot Pistons duplicating the. above.
Swell to Great Octave.
Swell to Great Sub-Octave—Three Thumb Pistons to the Swell Organ. .
Swell to Pedals—Three Foot Pistons duplicating the above.
Great to Pedals.
Swell Sub-Octave.

Marist College Pearce, Canberra
Junior School Hall Organ
Built by Wadsworth Bros., Manchester, 1908 for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tatham Fells, Lancashire. Installed in the Methodist Church Centre Road Bentleigh, Victoria, 1946 by Wilkinson & Son. Sold to Marist College and rededicated in 1999.

Open Diapason 8
Rohr Gedact 8
Dulciana 8
Principal 4

Violin Diapason 8
Lieblich Gedact 8
Echo Gamba 8
Voix Celeste TC 8
Gemshorn 4
Oboe 8

Bourdon 16 TC

Balanced mechanical swell paedal
4 composition pedals
Compass 58/30

Collegiate Church of St. Peter in Ruthin, Denbigshire
Built by Ernest Wadsworth and Brother, Manchester 1898

“the only known surviving 4-manual instrument built by the well-known Manchester firm of Ernest Wadsworth and Brother.”

1. Bourdon 16 24. Flûte Harmonique 8
2. Open Diapason 8 25. Fagotto 16 *
3. Violoncello 8 26. Bombarde 8 *
4. Bourdon 8 27. Clarionette 8
5. Octave 4 Tremulant
6. Wald Flute 4 Clochettes
7. Doublette 2
8. Mixture (15,17,19) III ranks
9. Trumpet 8

10. Diapason 8 28. Contra Bass 16
11. Flûte Traversière 8 29. Sub Bass 16
12. Viole de Gambe 8 30. Octave 8
13. Voix Céleste TC 8 31. Flute 8
14. Gemshorn 4 32. Bombarde 16
15. Cornet (15, 17, 19) III ranks
16. Cornopean 8
17. Oboe 8

18. Gedact 8 Solo to Great
19. Salicional 8 Swell to Great
20. Flûte Douce 4 Solo to Pedal
21. Salicet 4 Swell to Pedal
22. Cor Anglais 8 Great to Pedal
23. Orchestral Oboe 8 Choir to Pedal

16 General Thumb Pistons
1 General Cancel Piston
1 Setter Thumb Piston
Thumb Pistons for Sequencer Advance and Retard
14 General Toe Levers
Reversible Toe Levers to all Couplers
Toe Levers for Sequencer Advance and Retard
*25, 26 were modern additions


Sherburn Hospital
Built by Wadsworth, 1866 (listed as Job no. 56 costing 200 pounds)

Great (CC to f, 54 notes):

Bourdon 16
Open Diapason 8
Stopped Diapason 8
Dulciana (gr.bass) 8
Principal 4
Rohr Flote 4Twelfth 3
Fifteenth 2
Mixture II ranks
Trumpet 8

Swell (CC to f, 54 notes):

Spitzflote 8
Lieblich Gedackt 8
Gemshorn 4
Flageolet 2
Hautboy 8

Pedal (CCC to E, 29 notes):

Subbass 16

Great organ to Pedals
Swell to Great organ

2 composition pedals

Wadsworth used the "simplification system" of splayed mechanical action.

The press report of the opening on the 3rd January 1869 describes the organ as "a magnificent instrument which has elicited the warmest expressions of approbation from the subscribers”


Union Street Baptist Church
Built by Wadsworth

Great Organ, CC to A 58 notes:

Open Diapason 8
Rohr Flute 8
Viola 8
Dulciana 8
Principal 4
Wald Flute 4
Fifteenth 2
Trumpet 8

Swell Organ, CC to A 58 notes:

Diapason 8
Lieblich Gedeckt 8
Celeste 8
Salicet 4
Mixture 19, 22
Horn 8
Oboe 8

Swell to Great
Swell Octave
Swell Sub Octave


Pedal Organ, CCC to F 30 notes:
Bourdon 16
Bass Flute 8

Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal

Accessories: Combination Pedals.

The pitch is very sharp C= 535.8 ( A = 452.5) Close to, English, Old Philharmonic Pitch.


[i] Thistlethwaite, Nicholas: The making of the Victorian Organ, 1990 Cambridge University Press

2 Casavant Archives, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec
St James’ United Church Archives, St. James’ United, Montreal, Quebec

3 National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR)
Directory of British Organ Builders Version 3.0
© The British Institute of Organ Studies2005 (BIOS)

4 Bush, Douglas Earl and Kassel, Richard: The Organ: An Encylopedia, 2005