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Greville Watson, 2008
The Organs

Extract from a 1912 article: Mr. Catlin was for four years organist of the Park-road Wesleyan Church, retiring two years ago.

Rushden Echo, 12th April 1912

New Organ—Now that the debt on the trust fund of Park-road Wesleyan Church has been reduced by the handsome sum of £206 by the bazaar, the erection of a new organ is in contemplation.

The Pipe Organ
The pipe organ was in use from 1922 to 1955 when it was replaced by a John Compton Electrone 347 organ.
There were around 200 of the 347s built
and this one was number 161.

This has been supplemented by the Allen System 120 organ which was brought from
Higham Ferrers Methodist Church in 2004.

In 2013 the Electrone 347 was donated to Electrokinetica, which is more than a 'virtual museum' - every artefact online exists in their stores along with thousands more.
This Electro-mechanical 'Museum'
may be viewed at

The 1922 Organ
The specification of the organ is as follows:

Great Organ


Diapason Fondemental



Hohl Flute



Diapsaon Cantibele



Corno di Caccia






Concert Flute









Swell Sub-octave Coupler to Great



Swell to Great



Swell Octave to Great



Choir to Great Sub



Choir to Great



4 Pistons


Swell Organ


Tromba Minor






Viola Pomposa



Flauto Cantibele



Violes Celeste



Open Diapason






Swell Sub-Octave



Swell Octave



3 Pistons


Choir Organ


Melodic Diapason



Stopped Diapason



Lieblich Flute






Swell to Choir


Pedal Organ


Contra Bass



Double Open Diapason









Flute Bass



Choir to Pedal



Great to Pedal



Swell to Pedal


1 Composition Pedal, Great to Pedal on and off.

Rushden Echo, 23rd June 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wesleyan Methodism at Rushden - A Splendid New Organ
A Worthy Instrument
A new organ has been installed in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden, by Messrs. Conacher, Sheffield, and Co. Ltd., of 51, Harborne Park-road, Birmingham, and it will be opened on Thursday next. In the organ there are several stops which are quite out of the ordinary. They are as follow:-

No. 1

Diapason Fondemental

No. 4

Corno Di Caccia

No. 6

Concert Flute

No. 16

Viola Pomposa

No. 17

Flauto Cantibele

No. 23

Melodic Diapason

Each of these stops has been included for some special work, and is designed and voiced on quite special lines, thus the Diapason Fondemental gives great depth and dignity of tone to the Great Organ, etc. The Great Organ itself has been designed with the idea of producing organ tone proper, that is to say, its foundation is Diapason Tone.

The Swell Organ has, as its foundation, Reed Tone, while the Choir Organ provides that delightful quite singing tone so characteristic of old-time instruments. With regard to Solo Stops, these, considering the size of the instrument, are amply provided. In fact, the voicing of each Stop is so artistic that practically every stop on the Manuals of the Organ can be used for Solo purposes, and this has been done without in any way interfering with the general build of the organ.

Then, again, the Pedal Organ is unusual for an organ of this size. It will be seen that there are five Pedal Stops; the usual number is about two. Special pistons are provided to the Great and Swell Organs. With the pistons, are used moving tablets (underneath the music rest), to show exactly what stops are being used. These pistons also provide suitable pedal bases. This is a great help to the organist, particularly for recital work. Another advantage of this system is that the draw stops themselves, the moment the pistons come into operation, are cut out, so that any combination of stops can be arranged on either Swell or Great organ, these combinations not coming into operation until the piston release has been touched. This gives to both manuals the advantage of a free piston combination movement.

Again, as the tablets showing the stops worked by the pistons are immediately under the music rest, one can see at a glance almost without taking one’s eyes off the music which stops are being used. Although the Swell Organ itself is quite small, there only being five speaking stops of normal pitch, the effect of the full Swell Organ is such that it would be impossible for anyone who did not know the specification to guess anywhere near the quantity of Stops in that organ. In fact, the effect is such that any organist hearing it would think that there were at least 12 or more Speaking Stops, not so much on account of the volume as from the fullness of tone.

Rushden Echo, 30th June 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins

Organ Opening at Rushden - Wesleyan Methodist Church – A Splendid Three-Manual Instrument
The three-manual organ which has been erected in the Park-road Wesleyan Church, Rushden, by Messrs Conacher, Sheffield, and Co. Ltd., of 51, Harbourne Park-road, Birmingham, and which was fully described in last week’s “Rushden Echo” was formally opened yesterday. The organ, which has 37 stops and is the largest in Rushden, is one of the finest instruments in the whole district, and its remarkable capabilities were yesterday much admired. The cost has been about £1,500, besides the old organ which was taken in part exchange, and about £1,000 had been raised before the opening day.

The opening ceremony took place yesterday at 3p.m. when the Rev C Borman, superintendent of the Higham Wesleyan circuit, and Mrs Borman, the Rev R H A Routledge, minister of the church, Mr F Heddon Bond, M.A., F.R.C.O., organist of the Wellingborough Congregational Church, and Mr Conacher, of the firm of organ builders, proceeded to the instrument, and, the whole congregation standing, Mrs Borman unlocked the organ with a silver key. She congratulated the friends on this great acquisition to their church. It was a fine instrument, a vast improvement on the old one, and would be of great assistance in their service and worship. Mr Routledge then presented to Mrs Borman, as a memento of the event, the silver key.

The Rev John Freeman, of Nottingham, who 23 years ago was stationed at Irthlingborough, then conducted service, Mr Heddon Bond presiding at the organ, and it was appropriate that the first tune to be played on the instrument after the formal opening should be “The Old Hundredth”, to which the hymn “All people that on earth do dwell” was sung. The other hymns were “For the beauty of the earth”, “Angel voices, ever-singing”, and “I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath”. Miss Evelyn Sayer (soprano) gave a superb rendering of the vocal sols “God so loved the world.” Mr Freeman preached an appropriate sermon on Psalm 150, and said there were some blessings which came to them in their worship in the sanctuary and nowhere else.

Tea was served to a large company in the schoolroom.

The organ recital in the evening will be reported next week.

The proceeds of the day were ££58.

Note: The following week another recital was given by the same organist

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 10th October, 1952, transcribed by Jim Hollis

£2,000 fund launched for church organ
Following expert advice, Rushden Park Road Methodist Church has launched an organ fund with a target of £2,000. News of the project was given to people who attended a concert at the church last week, at which the chief artiste was Miss Xenia Bidina.

The Rev. C. F. Guy said that the organ still fulfilled a useful function and many people might think there was little wrong with it. In fact it was a cause of constant anxiety and experts had said the main soundboards would soon be unplayable.

The church trustees had not yet decided whether to devote the money raised to a new organ or the reconditioning of the present one. The cost in either case would be in the region of £2,000.

Mr. Guy explained that the various church funds opened in the town from time to time were not a sign of rivalry. The town’s churches worked together well and the Methodist Church had sent a donation to St. Mary’s Church spire fund.

Miss Bidina was making one of her rare appearances in the town. She sang eight songs, including four with ‘cello obligatos by Miss Angelique de Reyghere, of Bedford. At the close Miss Bidina sang Bizet’s “Agnus Dei,” to which a violin obligato was played by Mr. John Downton, of Cambridge.

Both Miss de Reyghere and Mr. Downton, who used 17th century instruments, played solos, the accompanist throughout being Mr. Frank Witts, who had much to do with organising the concert.

There was an opening prayer, led by Mr. Guy, and the artistes were thanked by Mr. Arthur B. Abington, who presided.

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