Rebuilding Organ Cost £2,000
Memorial, to War Dead, Unveiled
First assembled in a barn at Knuston and now rebuilt at a cost of £2,000, the organ of Rushden Park Road Baptist Church was re-opened on Sunday morning bearing a plaque in memory of men who died in the two world wars.
A piano was used to accompany the introit (“God be in my head”) and the opening hymn, and the organ was not heard until after the unveiling of the plaque by Mr. Frank J. Sharwood (a senior officer of the church) and prayer of dedication by the Rev. R. Percival Jones.
The large congregation stood as Mr. Cyril Groom, A.R.C.O., played the “Solemn Melody” of Walford Davis.
Members and officers of Rushden Urban Council, headed by Mr. W. E. Capon (chairman) and Mr. Frank E. Brown (vice-chairman) attended the service. Officers and members of the British Legion, the R.A.F. Association, the Royal Artillery Association, and the Toc H were present, and the front pews were occupied by the young people’s brigades.
Links with the early days were provided by the presence of Mr. W. E. Sargent, whose mother donated nearly half the cost of the original organ, and of Mrs. Tassell, whose father (the late Mr. Joseph Farey) was choirmaster at the time.
Lessons were read by Councillor Joseph Allen, representing men of the church who served in the war of 1914-18, and Mr. Herbert A. Clark, who served in the last war. Mr. John S. Bayes conducted the choir in Stanford’s settings of the Te Deum (in B flat) and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.
Mr. Jones spoke of the reopening as “a long cherished dream” which had come true.
Referring to differing opinions about the form that war memorials should take, he asked: “If our friends died in combat with evil things, how better could we remember their sacrifice than in something that exalts good, and will be regularly used in the praise of Almighty God?”
He knew from long experience that this was the aim of the organist, the ambition of the choir, and the delight of the congregation.
Mr. Jones said the organ was built by Austin Organs, Inc., of the United States, assembled in a barn at Knuston, purchased in 1897 at a cost of £400, and installed in the Old Top Meeting. It was transferred to the present church four years later.
Correspondence published this year showed that only one other organ employing the Austin “universal” air chart had been installed in Britain. It went into a private London residence in 1903, and was afterwards transferred to Leicester.
The approximate cost of the rebuilding by Messrs. Nicholson, of Worcester, was £2,000. The church had already raised £1,200, and £500 was being transferred temporarily from the church account, leaving £300 to be found in the immediate future.
The church lost 42 men in the first war and 17 in the second.