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History of Organs

The organ that was removed in January 2019 from Chelsea Old Church was the fifth known to have been installed. An inventory of 1549 recorded ‘a pair of organs' (meaning an instrument with a double case) which would most likely have been removed and destroyed around the time of the English Civil War.

In 1712, the renowned organ builder Renatus Harris installed a new organ. If it still stood today, this would be a national treasure. This organ seems to have been later removed and found its way to Holsworthy church in Devon where the case survives.

Another organ was provided by the builder Richard Bridge in 1743 but this was never granted a faculty and was also removed.

Finally, in 1818 the Bevington firm provided an organ acquired from a private residence in Covent Garden. This may have contained pipework from an earlier instrument by another famous builder of the eighteenth-century, ‘Father’ Smith. This organ was rebuilt a number of times but finally met its end when the church was bombed in the Second World War.

The organ, just removed was completed, as part of the church's rebuilding, in 1958 by the now defunct firm of Frederick Rothwell & Sons. Further work was carried out by N.P. Mander in the early 1960s.

The specification can be found here: