The Church in the Market Place in the Spa town of Buxton was built in 1859. In 1865 a two manual organ by Conacher & Co. was installed. Thirty years later, in 1895, the Conacher was replaced by a new three manual Alexander Young & Sons instrument. In 1910 a Swell Octave coupler was fitted. The Conacher was relocated the same year in the Derby Parish Church of St Paul, Chester Green. .
In 1947 the Pedal Organ, originally tracker, was converted to pneumatic action. Rushworth & Dreaper are likely to have done the job – deduced from the job number 1787 stamped on the touch-box.
The wind tell-tale pulley is still in place on the console, and the walls of one corner of the chamber are covered with the names and remarks of generations of hand blowers. The blowing handle and feeders are no longer there.
In 1985 Buxton church became structurally unsafe and a huge reconstruction project became necessary which involved the fitting of steel joists within all the walls and roof trusses to stabilise the building. During this work some of the organ pipes were stored for safe-keeping by Rushworth & Dreaper who also sealed the organ against dust penetration. On returning the pipes and cleaning the organ the leather tracker buttons were replaced with nylon.
The Swell box is high against the roof and rear of the chamber, with the unenclosed Choir organ beneath it. Pedal pipes range the side walls. This all provides for a good scatter of the sound, even though a considerable amount must be lost in finding its way out.
All stops unite in splendid ensemble, and individually create fine variety. Rounded Diapason tone, clear Flutes, mild Strings, robust Trumpet reeds, and a splendid rolling pedal Open Diapason.
“The tonal relationships between stops and between keyboards is just right – especially for the registering of French Romantic music (of both the soft and the loud variety). The first of the Great Open Diapasons is indeed “Large”, though still well-developed. The “Small” one is only marginally less so, while the Principal sits comfortably in between. The remaining Great upperwork (including the magnificent Mixture, which breaks back at Middle-C) matches the Principal.
Lack of 16ft. tone on the Great is remedied by what, at first sight, may seem to be the rather pointless Choir to Great Suboctave: in actual fact the Choir Lieblich Gedact, being unenclosed and speaking out quite clearly, is able to provide a useful double for the Great as an alternative to coupling from the Swell. – Rodney Tomkins .
The reservoir leather is failing, but otherwise the organ is in good shape. A Y & Sons cast weights ring the reservoir table.
The organ is a joy to hear and a joy to play. Its majestic Victorian sound an object of wide praise within the church and community.
“An important element in our heritage” – Nicholas Thistlethwaite
This substantially unaltered splendid example of Alexander Young’s work is deserving of at least a Grade II* certificate.
. Historic Organs in Derbyshire. Rodney Tomkins.1998.
Open Diapason Large
Open Diapason Small
Stopped Diapason Clarabella
Viol di Gamba
Tremulant (whole organ)
Couplers: 5 unison; Sw Oct; Ch to Gt Suboc
Compass: 56 / 30
Action: mechanical (M) / pneumatic (P)
Balanced swell pedal
The Swell Octave and Tremulant were added in 1909, their drawstops being placed above the Swell keyboard. It was only in 1947 that the Pedal Organ was converted to pneumatic action.