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Sheffield's new action stations
A regret and farewell from friends

Top right: The west end organ by Geoffrey Coffin in St. Mary Handsworth
Centre: Goetze and Gwynn in Carver Street, demonstrated by Robert Cockroft

Sheffield's new action stations

FOUR carloads of eager members tracked down three modern tracker action organs in Sheffield in September. "It's like cream with splints," said one member after playing the Kenneth Tickell two-manual at Holy Trinity, Millhouses. And witty organ builder David Wood, on emerging from the organ's innards, remarked: "It's all been done right in there."

And so it was. This was without doubt the highlight of the day. A 1930s church, magnificently resonant and an instrument of but 13 speaking stops - every one a gem - left us all quite breathless and, perhaps, not a little envious of organist Ron Law whose agreeable lot it is to preside over it. He and his vicar made us most welcome and urged us to return. Earlier, the Goetze and Gwynn organ, on the west gallery of the spacious St Matthew's Carver Street, (where our member and guide Jim Cowell played for several years) had demanded our attention.

A brilliant sound emerged from this lively organ thought its complex stop control and its lean towards academia left it short for liturgical use especially in such Anglo-Catholic surroundings. Organist Alan Barker, though, was a genial host and we took coffee and pies (Jones of Marsh) in the excellent parish centre.

At the morning's start, members found it less easy to enthuse about Geoffrey Coffin's west end organ at St Mary's, Handsworth, where older pipework seemed uneasy in its new position. And although mechanically, the organ had much to commend, its overall sound was less than exciting. Moreover, access to the loft, by a precarious and steep ladder, would be likely to make Health and Safety Executive inspectors blanch.

A regret and farewell from old friends

From: Arnold Lee, Mill Moor Road, Meltham, Huddersfield.

Thank you for your letter and copy of the Clarion together with your kind invitation to rejoin the Huddersfield Organists' Association. The original date of my joining was December 30, 1938, at the age of 18 years when Messrs H Armitage and Frank Netherwood were Hon Secretary and Treasurer respectively. The Second World War intervened for I was called up for service on September 1 1939; this interrupted my organ tuition dramatically as I did not return as a civilian until 1946!

I was immediately appointed organist and choirmaster of Meltham Methodist Church, a post which I enjoyed until 1958 when my work employers moved our family and myself to Hirwaun in South Wales. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself in the musical circles of the Aberdare/Merthyr Tydfil area and later in the Retford area; then back home where I am now joint organist again at Meltham Methodist Church.

My heart tells me to join again, but other factors are telling me to slow down, therefore it is with regret that I must decline your invitation. I shall always value your kindness and will be interested to read of the association's activity.

PS: Reading in the Clarion of the function at Marsden brought back memories, for my organ teacher was Mr Lewis Eagland. I spent many happy Saturday afternoons with him playing the excellent Binns organ in the Parish Church.

From: Chris Hepworth, Granville Street, Barnsley.
I have decided to resign my membership of the association. Getting to evening meetings was always a problem due to my working hours and I do not feel that I have the flexibility to rearrange lessons as necessary. Peter and I were very happy to be members of HOA and enjoyed the various gatherings. Particularly I will always have memories of the wonderful week when the conference was held in Huddersfield.We had planned to visit the one in Oxford but the future is rather uncertain at present. Thank you all for your friendship and shared love of organ music. My best wishes to all the members n We reported the death of Chris's partner, Peter Littlewood, in the last Clarion.