Dr Christopher Maxim
Organist of St Matthew’s
This fine instrument was built in 1877 by Eustace Ingram, who had learned the art of reed voicing with the great ‘Father’ Henry Willis, builder of the Royal Albert Hall organ, and of many cathedral organs and other major instruments across Great Britain. The St Matthew’s organ has characteristics, in both its construction and in its sound, that reflect its builder’s training; and the high quality of workmanship for which Willis was renowned is evident in Ingram’s work. This organ was not, however, originally built for St Matthew’s Church, and we are fortunate that it survives.
St Matthew’s was severely bombed in World War II and its interior and furnishing, including the organ built in 1862 by Henry Jones, were destroyed. A temporary building was constructed in the bombed-out shell; and the Eustace Ingram organ from St Matthias, Bethnal Green was installed by the local (and today internationally renowned) organ-building firm, N. P. Mander Ltd. In due course, St Matthew’s was rebuilt to a striking modern design and it was intended that an organ should be placed high up behind the altar, with the player seated at a detached console positioned in the archway under the staircase that sweeps dramatically down the south wall of the church. There was, however, insufficient money for this plan to be realised; so, as a temporary measure, in 1961, N. P. Mander Ltd erected the Eustace Ingram organ on the west gallery of St Matthew’s. Thus, for want of funds, a fine organ found a new home. Over time, the plans to place an organ above the altar were quietly shelved and the temporary measure became permanent.
Apart from a few alterations carried out when the organ was installed in the temporary church (none of which, so far as can be ascertained, affected the sound of the organ), Ingram’s work is, to this day, much as he left it in 1877. In fact, in 1961, the organ was not even furnished with a case and so it stands in naked glory, singing unhindered into the resonant acoustic of the building.
For a fuller history of the church's organs from the eighteenth century to the present day, click here to download The History of the Organs of the Parish Church of St Matthew, Bethnal Green in PDF format.
The Eustace Ingram organ of St Matthew’s, Bethnal Green is a splendid example of multum in parvo: a small number of stops yield a broad spectrum of sounds and the instrument can deceive the listener into thinking that they are hearing a larger instrument than is really the case. Every stop is beautiful on its own, yet every one blends with every other. The stops range from the delicate (and unusually named) Melodia of the Swell Organ, to the majestic Great Trumpet, which is both an excellent solo stop and the crowning glory of the Full Organ, when every stop is drawn.
There are two manuals, fifteen speaking stops and three couplers.
|Great Organ||Swell Organ|
|Open Diapason 8’||Concert Flute 8’|
|Gamba 8’||Open Diapason* 8’|
|Stopped Diapason 8’||Melodia* 8’|
|Principal 4’||Principal 4’|
|Lieblich Flute 4’||Mixture III ranks|
|Fifteenth 2’||Horn 8’|
|Trumpet 8’||Oboe** 8’|
|* bottom octave from Concert Flute|
|** from tenor C only|
|Bourdon 16’||Great to Pedal|
|Swell to Pedal|
|Swell to Great|
St Matthew's Row,
Bethnal Green London E2 6DT
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our main Sunday service is the
Parish Eucharist at 10.30am
Mass, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are offered most days.
See Parish Notices for more information