The first pipe organ in the church was built by the London firm of William Hill and Sons, between 1892 and 1904, although Hill’s proposed specification for the organ was never completed. In 1921 the organ was re-built and enlarged by P G Phipps of Oxford. Nicholson of Worcester re-built the organ, with some tonal additions and modifications to the layout and action, in 2006.

SPECIFICATION OF THE ORGAN

(Nicholson & Co. 2006)
(incorporating pipework from Hill & Sons, 1892-1904, and P G Phipps, 1921)

Great

Double Diapason 16 Hill 1904 (original Bourdon on Swell)
Large Open Diapason 8 Hill 1892
Small Open Diapason 8 Phipps 1921 (?)
Clarabella 8 (John Nicholson c.1890)*
Dulciana 8 Hill 1892
Principal 4 Hill 1892
Harmonic Flute 4 Hill 1892
Twelfth 2 2/3 Nicholson 2006
Fifteenth 2 Hill 1892
Mixture III Nicholson 2006
Posaune 8 Nicholson 2006

Swell

Horn Diapason 8 Hill 1893
Stopped Diapason 8 Hill 1893
Salicional 8 (John Nicholson c.1890)*
Voix Celeste 8 (John Nicholson c.1890)*
Principal 4 Hill 1893
Flute 4 (John Nicholson c.1890)*
Fifteenth 2 Phipps 1921 (Piccolo re-voiced)
Mixture III Nicholson 2006
Contra Oboe 16 Hill 1895 + 12 new, Nicholson 2006
Horn 8 Hill 1899

Pedal

Diapason (wood) 16 Phipps 1921
Bourdon 16 Hill 1892
Principal 8 (John Nicholson c.1890)*
Bass Flute 8 Hill 1892 + 12 new, Nicholson 2006
Trombone 16 Nicholson 2006

*Five second-hand ranks of pipes which were originally in the Nicholson organ made for Small Heath Baptist Chapel, Birmingham, c.1890.

Couplers

Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Swell Octave
Swell Sub Octave
Swell Unison Off

Accessories

Great and Pedal Pistons Combined (drawstop)
Generals on Swell Toe Pistons (drawstop)

Thumb Pistons:

5 to Swell
5 to Great
5 Generals
Reversible Swell to Great
Reversible Swell to Pedal
Reversible Great to Pedal
General Cancel

Toe Pistons:

5 to Swell
5 to Pedal
Reversible Swell to Pedal
Reversible Great to Pedal

Compass

Manuals: CC – A (58 notes)
Pedal: CCC – F (30 notes)

Misc

Wind pressure 3 inches (76mm)
Equal Temperament A = 440

Composition of mixtures

Great:

C (1) 15-19-22
F# (19) 12-15-19
F# (43) 8-12-15

Swell:

C (1) 22-26-29
C (13) 19-22-26
C (25) 15-19-22
C (37) 12-15-19
C (49) 8-12-15

The organ is housed in a chamber high up on the north side of the chancel, with arches opening to the west and south. The action is electro-pneumatic. A conventional drawstop console, detached and mobile, is situated in the nave.

A piston capture action is fitted which provides the facility of 16 Divisional and 96 General levels, any one of which can be set and locked for organists’ individual use. A setter thumb piston is located on the lower keyslip, and locks and indicators are set into the right-hand stop jamb.

A fuller history of the organs and choirs of St. Margaret’s Church can be read in: Music at Saint Margaret’s Church, Oxford – an outline history of the organs and choirs by Brian Davey (Positif Press, Oxford, 2006). Copies can be obtained from the Organist and Choir Director, Richard Goodall. Price £6, all proceeds to the church’s music fund.


Pipes of the Great organ on their new soundboard placed near
a west-facing arch in the organ chamber

A glimpse through the Swell shutters, showing some pipes of
the Swell organ

Newly-made (2006) wooden pipes for the Pedal Bass Flute 8