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Article extracted from "One Hundred Years of Worship" by kind permission, and compiled by Greville Watson 2007



The organ was not electrified until 1947 at the cost of £85.  Until then the services of an ‘Organ Blower’ were employed.  In the small room at the left side of the organ can still be seen the names of some of them scratched on the wall.  The organist couldn’t even practise without the services of the Organ Blower and so needed someone very reliable.  It was quite a marathon job when the choir sang cantatas like “The Crucifixion”.  The organ was cleaned in 1935 at the cost of £38.

The organ
The organ
According to the minutes there seem to have been quite a number of organists in the early part of the 20th Century.  Several of them were joint organists – Mr. Clipston, Miss Corbett, Mr. G. Denton and Mr. Flood (who was also Choir Master).

There is an interesting minute on 17th November 1925: “a letter was read from Mr. Sydney Weekley asking permission for use of the organ for practice – Mr. A. Clark to be his teacher”.  Little did the leaders and congregation know that this was to be the beginning of a long association of Mr. Weekley with the High Street Church organ.  His services at High Street began in 1945, but due to ill health in 1959 he resigned.  There was difficulty in finding another permanent organist and several people – Miss M. Stapleton, Mr. A. Wooding, Miss F. Cox, Mrs. S. Richardson and a ‘young chap’ called Mr. Sam Hensman – helped out.  Mr. Weekley and Mr. Hensman struck up a wonderful friendship and played alternate Sundays for almost ten years.

Rushden Echo, 13th July 1900, transcribed by Kay Collins

An Enjoyable Party was held at Eastfields on Tuesday when Mr and Mrs Geo. Denton entertained to tea the teachers of the Queen-street and Station-road Independent Wesleyan Sunday Schools, the choirs, the Station-road silver band, and the members of the Bible classes and senior classes associated with the two places of worship. Queen’s weather prevailed and the tea, with an abundance of strawberries, was served on the lawn, the company numbering 130. Immediately upon the conclusion of the tea, Mr John Mackness (the conductor of the Independent Wesleyan choir) said he had a very pleasing duty to perform, and that gathering was a most opportune time to do so. They were all greatly pleased with the new organ recently erected in the chapel, and they were deeply indebted to Mr J E Smith, who spared no pains in drawing up specification and in procuring a first-class instrument, and the committee thought that they would like to acknowledge his services by presenting him with an illuminated address. (Cheers)—The address, which was artistically lettered and decorated, was as follows:-

“Independent Wesleyan Chapel. To Mr J E Smith. Dear Sir, On behalf of the above church we, the undersigned, desire to convey to you our deepest sense of indebtedness for your most valuable services in getting specifications and in every way possible helping us to procure a new organ for our new place of worship. We therefore ask you to accept this small token of our appreciation for the interest you have manifested and for so ably presiding at the instrument on the day of opening services. Praying that the blessing of the Heavenly Father may rest upon you in an abundant manner, we are, yours sincerely, on behalf of the above church, J Mackness, A H Lawson, G E Cunnington, T Bromage, J W Drage, J Jaques, Wm. Gutteridge, E Wrighton.”

In appropriate terms Mr Smith acknowledged the compliment which had been paid to him. The remainder of the evening was spent in games, Mr and Mrs Denton and their family being most energetic in looking after the comfort of their guests, a cordial vote of thanks to them for their hospitality being passed. Some excellent music was discoursed by the Station-road band.

The Rushden Argus June 30th 1922, transcribed by Susan Manton

Rushden’s New Organ
Magnificent Instrument Opened in the Wesleyan Church

The organ and pipes Miss Peck
The fine new organ of three manuals at the Wesleyan Church, Rushden, which was formally opened yesterday amid great rejoicing, and Miss Rose Peck, the church’s clever organist at the console.

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