Old St Paul's organ

25/06/2021

The organ at Old St Paul's has been resounding with song for many decades now. Learn a little about its history, if you're curious.

Organ under construction in 1977
Organ under construction in 1977expand/collapse

Tamara Patten, Property Lead at Old St Paul’s, Wellington, recently received this image of Old St Paul’s organ under construction at the South Island Organ Company’s workshop in Timaru in 1977.

Our organ is ‘new’ because the previous 1877 organ was taken out and installed in the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul when Old St Paul’s closed in 1964. After the removal of the previous organ from the north minor transept, the space was filled with timber panelling. Later, the Friends of Old St Paul’s raised funds for the new organ. The specification for the new organ was developed by Roy Tankersley and it was built and installed by the South Island Organ Company and dedicated on 26 August 1977.

Old St Paul’s organ is still tuned and maintained by the company. “The man in the background of the photo at the South Island Organ Company, Gerald Green, was with us recently to tune the organ,” says Tamara, “so it has had wonderfully consistent care over its lifetime”.

The organ is frequently played for weddings, funerals, services and concerts. Many leading organists play the organ – most recently Wellington’s City Organist Douglas Mews and Old St Paul’s own Musician, Paul Rosoman. During June the organ took centre stage at the Wellington Organists Association 2021 concert. “It’s a very concert-friendly organ as the organist sits right in the church’s crossing, rather than tucked away up high or in one of the transepts”.

- David Watt