St. Luke's Church Choir Bournemouth

 The St. Luke's Church Organ...


Compiled by Malcolm Wood, former Director of Music.

My thanks go to:-
The staff of the Hampshire County Records Office, Winchester where most of the research was carried out.
Jan Marsh and the staff of the Heritage Zone of the Bournemouth Library.
The Vicar, Fr. Stephen Holmes and Churchwardens: Peter Byrt and Morag Snooks of St. Luke’s Church, Winton, Bournemouth for access to records kept at St. Luke’s Church.
Gerald Roper for further information on the history of the organ.
Lance Foy for information from his report compiled in May 2001.
Alison Smith, Archives Assistant, Birmingham City Archives for information on the firm of S.F. Dalladay and from the Haycroft notebook.


  1. A Brief History of the Formation of St. Luke’s Parish
  2. The Building of the Dalladay Organ, 1920
  3. The Work of E.C. Bishop, 1923 - 1945
  4. The Osmond Rebuild of 1960
  5. The Lance Foy Restoration and Improvements, 2002
  6. Sources

1. A Brief History of the Formation of St. Luke’s Parish

St. Luke’s Church began as a Mission Room on the corner of Wimborne Road and Latimer Road. It opened on November 10th., 1880 as a place for prayer and teaching attached to the Parish Church of St. John’s Moordown.
On March 13th., 1884 it was dedicated for Divine Worship by the Bishop of Winchester and held a congregation of about 100 people. Services were accompanied in this building on a harmonium purchased at the time of the dedication at a cost of 25 guineas.[2]
A site for a new church was given by Mr. Cooper Dean of Littledown on March 2nd., 1893 and this is the site on which the present St. Luke’s Church was built. It’s foundation stone was laid on Ascension Day, May 27th. 1897.
The builders of the church were Messrs. F. Hoare and Sons and it was designed by the architects Creeke, Gifford and Oakley. The first part of the building, which consisted of the present Nave up to the fourth bay from the West End, was dedicated on Monday May 16th., 1898.
By 1913 the building of the church was completed and the finished St. Luke’s was dedicated on St. Luke’s Day, October 18th., 1913. It was finally consecrated on Wednesday, January 13th., 1915 by the Bishop of Southampton.
St. Luke’s became a separate parish by an Order-in-Council of September 24th., 1917. Its first Vicar, Revd. Frank C. Learoyd had been appointed as Vicar-Designate and publicly licensed on June 2nd., 1915.

2. The Building of the Dalladay Organ, 1920

Originally, the new St. Luke’s Church contained only a small, second-hand one manual organ bought for £50,which by 1919 had become very dilapidated. As the Parish Magazine of February 1919 stated:-
“...It is now done for. The last time the tuner was here he left this message on the organ stool: “Pipes are deteriorating, mechanism is also very much worn.” Moreover we have been lately anxiously watching an ugly rift in the case which has threatened collapse and possible accident. We may also make no secret of the fact that in order to retain a really talented Organist we must give him a decent organ." [3]
The Organist at this time was Ronald Gomer who had been appointed in August 1917.[4] He was formerly a chorister of, and later Assistant Organist at Wimborne Minster. He lived in West Borough, Wimborne and taught organ, pianoforte and singing. He also composed songs and church music whilst Organist and Choirmaster at St. Luke’s Church. It is evident that the church members realised they had a very able musician and that their organ was totally inadequate for the high standard of music which he was establishing. As the Parish Magazine reported in February, 1919:-
“Mr. Ronald Gomer attempted a bold thing in giving an Organ Recital [on January 7th.] considering the very limited capacities of our one manual and rather dilapidated little instrument but it was generally agreed that he was wonderfully successful in making the best of a difficult task, and the many who were present much appreciated his playing. If the recital demonstrated the need for an organ more worthy of our fine Church, it also proved his capacity for doing full justice to the finest instrument we can procure... [5]
The proceeds from this recital were banked as the launch of a New Organ Fund.
At a meeting of the P.C.C. on 18th. May, 1920 the question of the purchase of a new organ was discussed. It was reported that an offer had been received of a 2 manual organ for 500 guineas, or a “ 3 manual (with the present organ incorporated as the Choir organ and fitted with an electric blower) for £865.” It was resolved to purchase the three manual organ subject to Ronald Gomer reporting favourably on a similar instrument.[6]
The Parish Magazine of June 1920 was able to report that the new organ had been ordered at a cost of £965 of which £300 had been paid as a deposit. The increase in cost was due to the fact that it had been decided to retain only the Dulciana stop from the existing organ, the rest of the Choir Organ being new.
The chosen builder was Samuel Frederick Dalladay of Hastings (1864 - 1955) who was himself an organist holding the ARCO diploma. His firm built organs between 1907 and 1946, employing a small team of 9 or 10 men. [7]
The specification was as follows:-[8]

Great Organ Swell Organ Choir Organ
1.Open Diapason 8 6.Violin Diapason 8 12.Lieblich Gedacht 8
2.Clarabella 8 7.Rohr Flute 8 13.Dulciana 8
3.Principal 4 8.Viol di Gamba 8 14.Lieblich Flute 4
4.Harmonic flute 4 9.Gemshorn 4 15.Clarinet 8
5.Piccolo 2 10.Cornopean 8
Pedal Organ Couplers Composition Pedals
16.Harmonic Bass 32 19.Swell super octave Two to Great
17.Bourdon 16 20.Swell sub octave Two to Swell
18.Bass Flute 8 21.Swell to Great
22.Choir sub to Great
23.Great to pedal
24.Swell to Pedal
25.Choir to Pedal

The new electrical blower was housed in a specially built external housing on the North side of the church above the boiler room.[9]
The organ was dedicated on Christmas Morning, 1920 and the account of its building in the Parish Magazine of January, 1921 runs as follows:-
“Mr. Dalladay’s two workmen arrived from Hastings on December 6th. [1920] with two tons of organ(!) , started building the same day, and Mr. Dalladay gave a Recital on the completed instrument on Dec. 22nd.! The dedication preceded the High Celebration on Christmas morning and its first notes in the use of worship were those of “Hark, the Herald Angels” for the Eucharist Procession. We are entirely pleased with the Organ, and we are most thankful for it. Some of the stops are of an exceptionally good quality, and there is not a bad stop in the instrument... While infinitely more powerful than the old organ we might well have spent the £100 or so extra for the Open Pedal but provision is made for such an addition when the chance offers...”[10]
In fact, the Builders had prepared for the addition of a Pedal Open Diapason 16` and a Swell Oboe 8`, together with a Swell to Choir coupler, and it was not long before these were added under rather alarming circumstances![11]

3. The Work of E.C. Bishop, 1923 - 1945

The “two tons of organ” had apparently proved too much for the structure of the frame and casework of the new instrument, for, at a P.C.C. meeting on 30th. July, 1923 it was reported that:-
“Certain structural defects have become apparent in the organ, noticeably a weakness of the framework which is sinking with the weight of the action and pipes, and which allows the whole instrument to sway with pressure. It is obviously necessary to remedy this as soon as possible. Mr. E.C. Bishop, successor to Mr. W. J. Burton, who holds the contract for tuning, has already undertaken some of the work...”
E.C. Bishop also, very sensibly, suggested completing the organ whilst engaged in the strengthening work at an inclusive cost of £250. A sub-committee was appointed to deal with the matter and it was resolved not to ask the congregation for further funds, but to raise the money by a bank loan. A Mr. G.E. Evered agreed to pay the interest of 4½ % for at least a year.[12]
Mr. Bishop was asked to ensure that the work was completed in time for a special service for the unveiling of the War Memorial Window on 5th. August, 1924.[13]
An entry in a notebook of Haycroft in the British Institute of Organ Studies Archives confirms these additions to the organ, listing the instrument as having three manuals with 20 speaking stops (as opposed to the original 18) and 8 couplers (as opposed to the original 7).


No further work of note was carried out until 1932 when the organ broke down following cracking of the sound boards. This was because there was a shortage of seasoned timber following the end of the First World War when the organ was originally built. Repairs were carried out by E. C. Bishop in 1933 at a cost of £110.[14]Mr. Bishop also recommended a new blower as fumes from the boiler room were being sucked into the organ. The blower was installed in the Organ Loft in 1934 at a further cost of £70, but its use was delayed due to a changeover of the frequency of the electric current at this time.[15]
Further cracking of the Swell sound boards was reported by E. C. Bishop in 1934 and more repairs were carried out.[16]
Inspite of these setbacks, the Church’s investment in the building and maintenance of this organ achieved the aim of retaining their talented Organist who remained in post until 1943. It is worth quoting here from the article in the Parish Magazine of September, 1942, which recorded Ronald Gomer’s Silver Jubilee:- “...He started his work as our Organist and Choirmaster on August 23rd. of that year [1917]. The Organ then was a single manual instrument, little better than a rather superior harmonium. We provided him with a new Organ in 1920, to which more stops were added three years later* at a total cost of £1,365, but our Organ, as it is, hardly gives scope to Mr. Gomer’s great abilities. Apart from his professional services he has helped us in many invaluable ways as an Altar Server, providing us each Christmas with a beautiful crib, helping us through these years with countless concerts and entertainments, lending a strong hand to the Scouts, facing in all weathers the journey to and fro between St. Luke’s and Wimborne. During his quarter of a century he has had 138 Choir Boys... who would all be ready to give him “three cheers” if they had the chance. The Vicar referred to this Anniversary at the morning and evening services on August 23rd. and he has reason to know that he echoed the sentiments of S. Luke’s people in his words of thanks and congratulation.”
*Actually four years later. The P.C.C. agreed that the work be carried out three years later.
The organ was cleaned and overhauled by E. C. Bishop in 1945 which kept it functioning with routine tuning and maintenance until 1959, when it was felt that a major overhaul and rebuild were necessary.
By then, the organ was in the care of K.L. Bishop, the local representative of the firm of Geo. Osmond of Taunton, and a report on the organ from this firm was sent to the P.C.C. on 13th. February, 1959.

4. The Osmond Rebuild of 1960

One of the most significant features of the rebuilding and restoration work carried out by Osmonds in 1960, apart from the usual cleaning and repairs to action and pipes, was an attempt to help the tone from the organ to speak into the Nave of the church by moving the whole instrument forward by about one foot. The Organ Loft at St. Luke’s is a chamber, high up on the North side of the Chancel, with no westward opening into the North Aisle. The lack of upperwork in the original specification of the organ did not help this state of affairs and the Osmond rebuild included the replacement of the Great Piccolo 2` with a Fifteenth, to go some way towards giving added brightness to the tone. More pervasive Pedal tone was achieved by moving the Open Diapason 16` from the back of the organ to the East side and adding an Octave 8` as an extension.
Important mechanical improvements included the provision of a Balanced Swell Pedal to replace the original ratchet variety and electrification of the Pedal Organ, the original actions being tracker to Great and Choir and pneumatic to Swell and Pedal. The pedal board was re-pieced and re-felted, and the stop action was overhauled. Work on the pipes included the fitting of tuning slides and careful restoration and regulation of the speech of the reeds.[17]
The work was carried out in consultation with the then Organist, H. J. Sambrook who was also Headmaster of St. Luke’s School.A plaque in the vestry corridor beneath the organ commemorates the rebuild:-




Great Organ Swell Organ Choir Organ
1.Open Diapason 8 6.Violin Diapason 8 14.Lieblich Gedeckt 8
2.Clarabella 8 7.Rohr Flute 8 15.Dulciana 8
3.Principal 4 8.viol di Gamba 8 16.Lieblich Flute 4
4.Harmonic flute 4 9.Voix Celeste t.c. 8 17.Clarinet 8
5.Fifteenth 2 10.Gemshorn 4
11.Cornopean 8
12.Oboe 8
Pedal Organ
18.Acoustic Bass 32
19.Open Diapason 16
20.Bourdon 16
21.Octave 8
22.Bass Flute 8
Couplers Accessories
23.Swell to Great 2 composition pedals to Great
24.Swell to Choir 2 composition pedals to Swell
25.Swell to Pedal Balanced Swell pedal
26.Great to Pedal
27.Choir to Pedal Compass
28.Swell Octave Manuals CC - G 56 notes
29.Swell Sub Octave Pedals CCC - F 30 notes
30.Choir Sub Octave to Gt. Radiating and concave pedal board

By 1984 the organ was in need of cleaning and overhaul, and quotations for the work were requested from Bishop and White Organ Builders of Wimborne, Foster-Waite Organ Builders of Newbury, Keith M .Scudamore of Bournemouth and Geo. Osmond and Co. of Taunton. It was the submission by Foster-Waite which was in the end accepted by the P.C.C. and it included electrification of the action to the Swell Organ and Swell to Choir Coupler as well as cleaning and overhaul of the whole instrument. The total cost was £4,670 excluding VAT and the work was carried out during 1985.[18] The tuning contract was also taken over by Foster-Waite at this time. It is interesting to note that the quotation from Osmonds mentioned again the lack of tonal egress into the Nave and suggested the addition of a Twelfth 2 ²/³` in place of the Great Harmonic Flute 4` and a two rank Mixture in place of the Swell Oboe 8` as a means of further brightening the tone of the organ.[19]

5. The Lance Foy Restoration and Improvements, 2002

By the year 2001, the organ was again in need of cleaning and restoration. In April of that year the Vicar, Fr. Stephen Holmes and newly appointed Organist, Malcolm Wood had a meeting at the church with Lance Foy, Organ Builder of Truro who was by now tuning and maintaining the instrument. After a thorough inspection of the organ, it was decided that it merited restoration and preservation, but that the opportunity would be taken to make some tonal alterations and additions to make the organ as musical and versatile as possible. A full report on the organ was drawn up by Lance Foy on 1st. May, 2001,20 which was then presented to the P.C.C. by the Organist at its next meeting. All the recommendations were accepted subject to approval by the Diocesan Organ Advisor who was subsequently sent a copy of the report and invited to inspect the organ. The proposals were accepted with one or two minor recommendations which were incorporated. David Beeby, then Organist of St. Peter’s, Bournemouth had also been consulted.
It was decided to repaint the casework of the organ in keeping with the colour schemes already to be found within the Church and under the supervision of the Organ Builders.

The Diocesan Advisory Committee issued a faculty for the work to be carried out in June, 2001. The total cost of the restoration and improvements was £10,800, much of which was met from a legacy from the late Dorothy Douglas, but an Organ Restoration Appeal was launched to raise a target of £5,000 to cover the balance. By the time of commencement of the work in April 2002 over £3,000 had been received into the fund as a result of donations, sales of CD’s, sponsored voluntaries, garden parties, coffee mornings, concerts and carol singing.

The aims of the improvements were:-

  1. To make the instrument more effective for service accompaniment.
  2. To make the organ more versatile as a recital instrument.
  3. To brighten the tone of the organ so as to project its sound into the Nave of the church.

The only stops removed were the Swell Violin Diapason 8` and the Choir Dulciana 8`, both being rather poor in tone and rarely used. The Swell stop was replaced with a new spotted metal two rank Mixture of 19-22 composition, and the Dulciana made way for a Choir Flautina 2` by Conacher of Huddersfield which blended very well with the existing 8` and 4` flutes.
The Swell Oboe was made into a unit with a new full-length 16` bottom octave made of zinc with spotted metal tops. This was made playable on both the Swell and Pedal Organs at 16` and 8` pitches giving added richness to the Swell and added definition to the Pedal. A reconditioned Flageolet 2` of spotted metal was fitted in the Swell on the slide vacated by the Oboe giving a spotted metal chorus of 4`,2` and mixture with the Viol di Gamba and Rohr Flute both made fuller in tone to act as a foundation.
The Great Organ Principal 4` was brightened in tone together with the Great Fifteenth 2` which has been given a new top octave of spotted metal pipes. The restoration work included:- complete cleaning and overhaul of the whole organ; repair and regulation of pipework; provision of matching engraved drawstops; new solid state electric action to the Swell, Pedal and coupling actions; enlargement of the Swell box to accommodate the Bassoon and Oboe unit chest; refelting of the pedal board; renewal and repair of wind trunks; new maintenance lighting; adjustment of the touch on the Swell keyboard to match the Great and Choir keyboards; new console lighting and adjustment of the angle of the music desk to avoid hymn books falling onto the player’s hands!

The work was completed at the end of July, 2002 and after a settling-in period, the inaugural recital was given by David Beeby on October 12th. of the same year.


The organ is now much brighter in tone, more powerful and more versatile. As an instrument for accompanying services there is much more variety of tone and volume. It can now also successfully accompany large congregations in the Nave. Hymn and psalm accompaniment are able to be much more varied and effective. The organ is also much more viable as a recital instrument having the clarity and brightness of tone for Baroque and old English organ music as well as string, flute and reed tone appropriate for Romantic French music. It has the rich sounds associated with 19th. and early 20th.century German and English organ music and modern music can be played effectively thanks to the added brilliance and variety of tone and dynamics available.
Lance Foy and his team from Truro have successfully achieved all the aims of the restoration and have done so quietly and efficiently with the minimum amount of disruption. Local volunteers:- Ken Roberts and Tony Sparkes have also been a great help to the Organist in the repainting of the organ case and pipes and Audrey Roberts provided new curtains at each side of the console.

The project would not have been possible had it not been fully supported by the Vicar, Wardens, P.C.C., Choir and Congregation of St. Luke’s Church which reflects the value they place on music in the context of worship.


Great Organ Swell Organ Choir Organ
1.Open Diapason 8 6.Rohr Flute 8 16.Lieblich Gedeckt 8
2.Clarabella 8 7.Viol di Gamba 8 17.Lieblich Flute 4
3.Principal 4 8.Voix Celeste t.c. 8 16.Flautina 2
4.Harmonic flute 4 9.Gemshorn 4 19.Clarinet 8
5.Fifteenth 2 10.Flageolet 2
11.Mixture (19-22) 11
Pedal Organ 12.Bassoon (from 13) 16
20.Acoustic Bass 32 13.Oboe 8
21.Open Diapason 16 14.Cornopean 8
22.Bourdon 16 15.Tremulant
23.Octave 8
24.Bass Flute 8 Couplers
25.Bassoon (Swell) 16 27.Swell to Great
26.Oboe (Swell) 8 28.Swell to Choir
29.Swell to Pedal
30.Great to Pedal
31.Choir to Pedal
32.Swell Octave
33. Swell Sub Octave
34.Choir Sub Octave to Gt.
Accessories Compass
2 composition pedals to Great Manuals CC - G 56 notes
2 composition pedals to Swell Pedals CCC - F 30 notes
Balanced Swell pedal Radiating and concave pedal board
Action Blower B.O.B.,Derby
Great and Choir tracker
Swell,Pedal and couplers solid state electric


[1] THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. LUKE WINTON A brochure for the use of visitors, worshippers and parishioners. [Undated. Author unnamed]
[2] The Moordown Parish Magazine. April 1884
[3] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. Parish Magazine. December, 1920
[4] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. Parish Magazine. September, 1917
[5] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. Parish Magazine. February, 1919
[6] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 18th. May, 1920
[7] The Directory of Organ Builders
[8] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. Parish Magazine. June 1920
[9] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. Parish Magazine. December, 1920
[10] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. Parish Magazine. January, 1921
[11] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 18th. May, 1920 & 30th. July, 1923
[12] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 30th. July, 1923
[13] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 9th. February, 1925
[14] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 24th. October, 1932
[15] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 26th. February, 1934
[16] St. Luke’s Church, Winton. P.C.C. Minute Book. 30th. April, 1934
[17] GEO. OSMOND & CO. LTD. Report on Winton St. Luke’s Church, Hants. Organ 13th. February, 1959. (Original in Hampshire County Records Office.)
[18] FOSTER-WAITE, Anthony Letter to Rev. W.A. Canham 22nd October, 1984 Original at St. Luke’s Church, Winton, Bournemouth
[19] GEO. OSMOND & CO. LTD. Winton, St. Luke’s Church - Organ 13th. April, 1984 Original report at St. Luke’s Church, Winton, Bournemouth
[20] LANCE FOY ORGAN BUILDER St. Luke’s Winton, Bournemouth. The Organ. 1st. May, 2001. Copy in possession of the author.

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