The St Dunstan's Church Organ
We are proud of our historic church organ, which we are very privileged to have here in Bellingham!
The organ was originally built for the Chapel Royal, St James' Palace, by Hill & Son in 1868. However, some parts were even older than this. The second-hand case was reused from an organ built by Hill and Davidson in 1837. In 1891, six stops (sets of pipes) were installed from an earlier organ which had stood in a royal banqueting hall. These pipes were considered better than those built by Hill and include a set made by arguably the most famous organ builder of the 17th century Father Smith!
In 1925, Stanley Roper commissioned a new organ for the Chapel Royal, and this one found it's way to the newly constructed parish church for the London County Council's Bellingham cottage estate, where you can still hear it today!
The organ today
Today, the organ is played by our regular organist Brian Preston. As a retired music teacher, Brian is passionate about teaching young people about all kinds of music and ensuring the organ is shown off to it's best advantage.
The organ was extensively refurbished in 2017 and since then Brian has organised an annual recital. This included the organ's relaunch in May 2017 with a recital by Marilyn Harper (organist of Christ's Chapel, Dulwich) where the organ was rededicated by the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Reverend Dr Karowei Dorgu, in the prescence of the then Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock. 2018's recital featured a performance by Stephen Disley, sub-organist of Southwark Cathedral.
The organ is also played for special events such as Bellingham Festival and has taken part in two concerts hosted by St Dunstan's for Lewisham Music. Keep an eye on our events page for our next event!