organ at St. George's Church is a
chamber instrument, built around 1820, and brought to Gooderstone from London
during the 1940's. The case, made of walnut, is particularly fine and must
have been designed for a notable architectural setting - perhaps a grand
London town house; with it's pairs of fluted and square columns, each framing
a single gilt pipe, it is most unusual. A date at the tail end of the Regency
would seem likely.
Unfortunately, there is no makers' plate or inscription. At first it was attributed to Thomas Elliott (1759 - 1832) but this seems unlikely: neither the design of the stop action, nor the construction of the metal pipework suggests his authorship. James Chapman Bishop (1783 - 1854) is a stronger
|contender; he invented composition pedals (of which Gooderstone church organ has early examples), and there is a Bishop organ of similar date in Tasmania which retains a case not unlike this one.|
In most respects the organ is little altered from it's original state.
Chamber organs survive in reasonable numbers in country churches. Often they were taken from the 'big' house when they went out of fashion for domestic use. This example at Gooderstone is exceptional in the quality of its casework, its lack of alteration and the interest arising from the early composition action. It is an important historic organ and in heritage terms is Grade 1.
The organ is now back at St. George's Church after being historically restored at the workshop of Richard Bower and Co. They have extensive experience of restoration and conservation techniques and are accredited by the IBO.
Grants had been obtained for this work by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Breckland District Council, Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN) and the Garfield Weston Foundation. Many people have shown a great interest in this project and further funds had also been raised by Gooderstone Parochial Church Council to meet extra costs.
Links: to go to WREN home page click here.