Organ restoration project 2015

An Organ recital - the inaugural Donald Richardson Memorial Recital was given by IAN TRACEY (Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool City Organist) in St. Andrew's on Sunday 6th September to mark the restoration of the two manual pipe organ in honour of the late Mr. Richardson (1907-2013) who died aged 105 and bequeathed a generous legacy for the sole upkeep of the pipe organ. It was a very enjoyable event and well attended by a large number who were treated to refreshments of canopies and glasses of sparkling wine.

The organ at St. Andrews Church has now being restored and rebuilt by Andrew Garter (A. J. Carter) Organ Builders Ltd. (Wakefield, West Yorks) at an estimated cost of £110,000.

Organ Fund (2014-2015) The Appeal for funds for the organ restoration began in May 2014 and since then over £25,000 has been raised towards the fulfillment of the work in addition to £80,000 already received from Donald Richardson's legacy. As well as many much appreciated individual donations, there have been a number of events to support the work. Full details to follow.

Grants have been awarded by The Pilling Trust (£3,000) and The On-Organ Fund (£200).

Since the start of the Appeal, members of the congregation have been encourage to donate any small change to the Organ Jar, which has made an appearance at each of our regular Sunday morning services. The amount collected in the jar during that period has now exceeded £1,500.

At the end of August 2015 the amount raised for the Organ Fund stands at £106,327.19

Click here to read about the Organ Rebuild project

History of the Organ

To watch a short interview recorded during the start of the works with Colin Marston,  St. Andrew's Organist,             please click on the link below:



The organ in St. Andrew’s, Penrith has recently been rebuilt by the organ building firm of A.J.Carter (Wakefield) and the inaugural recital was given by Professor Ian Tracey (Liverpool) on September 6th, to an audience of over 200. Colin Marston writes about the history of the organ and the present rebuild.

St. Andrew’s Church was built in the 1720s. At that time any musical input in the services was likely to have been of a very rudimentary nature from a band of singers and instrumentalists in the West Gallery. Most of the congregational singing would have been unaccompanied.

The first organ in the church was installed in the church in 1796 as a result of a bequest of 100 guineas and a public subscription. The organ was a 2 manual instrument and, like most English organs of the time, lacked pedals. The case stood 14 feet high and was made of mahogany. Built by Samuel Green of London, one of the leading organ builders of the time, it was positioned in the West Gallery. Interestingly the first organist was a lady, Miss Ann Howgill of Whitehaven, who lived in Penrith for ten years and taught harpsichord, piano and organ.

In 1868 the organ was moved to its present position in the South Gallery of the church. The organ was built around a very large set of bellows (the size of which has created some challenges in the present rebuild) and was a two manual instrument, now with pedals. The cost was £300 nett “and the old organ” and the work was undertaken by the firm of Forster and Andrews from Hull. The Great manual had 10 stops, the Swell 8 stops and the Pedal 3 stops, complete with four couplers and five composition pedals. Care was taken with the appearance of the instrument – “the front pipes were to be gilded”, “the keys were to be made of the best ivory and ebony” with “the key fittings of oak or mahogany and handsomely finished”. The leatherwork on the bellows was made to last and survived, with some patching, until the present rebuild.

In 1923 a third manual was added – this was removed in the 1972 rebuild of the organ by Jardines of Manchester, which was done so patchily that a further rebuild costing £30,000 was done by Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool in 1992. Over the last ten years the pedal organ in particular has caused numerous problems and Donald Richardson’s generous legacy came at a very opportune moment. During the present work the organ chamber has been thoroughly cleaned (probably for the first time in almost 150 years) and problems of dampness and plastering have been tackled as well as improvements made to the access and lighting of the organ area. Organs generally need cleaning every 25 years or so and a thorough overhaul about every 50 years. Andrew Carter’s fine rebuild of one of Cumbria’s greatest organs should serve us well for many years to come.