The Clifton Sound
Details of the Organs of All Saints are taken from The Clifton Sound, a booklet published by All Saints in the 1960s.
THE WALKER ORGAN – 1967
The explosion of German fire-bombs that destroyed All Saints Church, Clifton, on the cold night of December 2nd, 1940, was quite different from the one on the sunny morning of July 1st, 1967; this was an explosion of colour, light and music. The rebuilt church was consecrated and its walls reverberated with the new Clifton Sound.
After more than a quarter of a century the much longed for new church had been completed, and in harmony with its inspiring interior design there had been installed one of the finest contemporary organs in the country.
Not that All Saints was without music during those twenty-seven years of confinement to the old Parish Hall: the bombs may have destroyed the building but they could not eradicate the faithful spirit of the congregation or the Musical Tradition of the church, and it is the latter that this article sets out to recall.
THE ORGANS - PAST AND PRESENT
The current instrument is the seventh to be installed at All Saints, and the second to be built here by J. W. Walker and Sons Ltd., of Ruislip, Middlesex.
Its superb performance surpasses that of all its predecessors, but nevertheless it would be wrong to forget completely the parts which they have played in the great musical tradition of All Saints.
In the Beginning: When the old church was built funds were limited; until enough money could be raised to purchase an organ of a size commensurate with the requirements of the future church a temporary one was erected in the South Chapel. At this time the old organ in Bath Abbey was taken down, and Messrs. Hill & Sons, who had in hand the execution of this smaller organ for All Saints, used in the work many of the sound boards of the old Abbey organ which had been renowned for the peculiar sweetness of its tone.
The result was eminently satisfactory but by 1870 the new organ had been erected in the North Chapel by Messrs. Hill & Sons, of London, and the former one was removed to St. John's Church, Clifton.
The Hill Organ
This was of great power and fine tone. Pneumatic action was added to Great and Pedal Organs in 1873. The organ was originally blown by a Joy's single cylinder engine, but the bellows action was so very noisy that a new double cylinder engine and new feeders were supplied in 1886. These worked noiselessly and supplied an abundance of wind without any attention except occasional lubrication and cleaning, and with much less expenditure of water than formerly.
One who remembers the previously rather cumbersome action of this water driven organ recalls that "if the water supply failed the only way to supply wind for the organ was by hand pumping. A panel of the organ-case had to be removed and two men, on a platform some three feet high, had to rotate a large wheel-an exhausting and exciting operation".
The specification of this instrument was as follows:
Download the technical details here.