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History of the Church Organ

The church’s organ was originally built by William Hill & Son, in 1897, for St. Ninian’s Church of Scotland, Leith. It was restored and moved to Aldershot in 1984 by Harrison of Durham, with necessary alterations to the mechanism.  Of the thirty-one stops, all but six are original: four being new and two altered.

When the organ was restored in 1984, a family connection was noted to the original organ builders.  During restoration in Durham, a piece of leather in one of the reservoirs was found to read: ’Releathered by F G Prested and J Berends, September 1897.’  The Prested family were organ builders for several generations. F C Prested worked for Hill and H E Prested for Willis.  By 1984, when the organ was restored, no fewer than eight members of the family had worked for the restorers, Harrison & Harrison, including Keith Unsworth, a great-nephew of F G Prested, who was on the staff at that point and, like several of his relations, specialised in leather work.

In early 2018 the church organ was substantially repaired and improved, particularly the console part of the organ.


Order of Service for the Dedication of the Pipe Organ.

Sunday 30th September 1984 3pm

Foreword

For many years Chaplains at St Andrew’s Garrison Church and the congregation felt the need for a pipe-organ which would not only be worthy of this house of prayer and what it stands for, but also be a means of enrichment for worship.

Many efforts were made in the past, but the stumbling block was always the thorny question of finance. Faith remained, and in due time was rewarded. While the Reverend David Reid was the Chaplain at St Andrew’s, Church, it became known that the organ at Leith St Ninians, Ferry Road Parish Church, Edinburgh was redundant as a result of the union of St Ninians with North Leith and Bonnington to form North Leith Parish Church. The Board Members in North Leith Parish Church and the Edinburgh Society of Organists were concerned that this fine organ should find a good home preferably a church large enough to take the instrument as it was, carefully restored. A visit by the Chaplain to Edinburgh confirmed his belief that the organ would be ideal for St Andrew’s Garrison Church, Aldershot.

Problems remained - the main one being finance. Nevertheless the congregation again rose to the occasion by starting a substantial Organ Improvement Fund. A further advance was made when the Board Members at North Leith Parish Church unanimously agreed to give the organ to St Andrew’s Garrison Church, Aldershot and to confirm it as an unencumbered gift freely given. This was a magnificent gesture for which this congregation is deeply grateful.

To mention names would be the surest way of omitting the most worthy ones. Suffice it to say that through the combined efforts and goodwill of many at Garrison and at District Headquarters and of PSA/DOE personnel, Messrs Harrison and Harrison of Durham received the necessary contract. They dismantled the organ at Edinburgh, refurbished the working parts at their works in Durham and then installed it in St Andrew’s Garrison Church earlier this year.

A letter from Mr David Stewart, the Organist and Choirmaster at North Leith Parish Church to the Commander Aldershot Garrison, said these words "We hope that the organ will enhance the musical part of your worship in St Andrew’s Church"

Today as we dedicate this fine instrument the same sentiments are the basis of our hope and prayer. May it continue to do so for many years to come.

Participating Clergy

The Reverend P Rich RAChD, Senior Chaplain Aldershot Area;
The Reverend Fr L Cosgrove RAChD, Senior Chaplain RC South East District;
The Very Reverend Dr J F McLuskey MC DD, Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Minister at St Columba’s Church Pont Street, London;
The Reverend D Reid OLJ LTH, Former Chaplain at St Andrew’s Garrison Church and now Minister at St Monans Church, Fife, Scotland; and
The Reverend A Smith MA RACbD, Chaplain at St Andrew’s Garrison Church.

Organist

Mrs M Davie