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The first organ of modern times appeared at St Peter's in 1812, when it was situated in what is now the gallery, under the West steeple. In 1878, it was moved to its present position in the chamber in the North of the chancel. The organ began to show its first signs of old age in the middle of the twentieth century. In 1934, Dr William Sumner, internationally renowned as an authority on organs, was asked to make an examination and report:

“as regards the tonal and mechanical side of the organ we are forced to say that both are entirely obsolete ... no organist of repute would accept a recital engagement on the organ as it now stands ... the action, despite constant small expenses merely to keep it in status quo, will collapse completely ere long ... every pipe in the organ is to a greater or lesser degree inhibited in its speech through the dirt of years.”

Any plans for a major overhaul had to be postponed because of the Second World War. In 1948 another report indicated that the organ, now 160 years old, was in a parlous state:

“most of the notes in the last (bass) octave will not play at all… the console is obsolete… the metal pipes have gone soft owing to their great age and are bending over like blades of grass in all directions.”

Under the guidance of Vincent Trivett (organist at St Peter's from 1906 to 1947), the church bought the organ of St Columba's, Mansfield Road, and the repairs and the blending together of the two organs was undertaken by the firm of Wragg & Son in 1952. But even at this stage, the organ was not satisfactory, and further alterations were made under the stewardship of Kendrick Partington in both 1964 (Henry Willis & Sons) and in 1983 (Hill, Norman & Beard).

The North Aisle organ case is of circa 1770, built as a copy of a piece by the great organ builder John Snetzler (though long thought to be the work of Snetzler himself). For many years, the case was tucked away out of sight in the chancel, but following the 1934 report, it was removed to its present site at the east end of the north aisle where it can be seen in its full beauty. In the words of Dr Sumner (who included a picture of the case in his seminal book of 1952 'The Organ'):

“English organ cases of artistic value are extremely rare, but here is an example of great beauty… it is to be deplored that when so many churches are marred by hideous rows of zinc chimney cans masquerading as organ cases St Peter’s hides its very beautiful light under a bushel… the case should be erected in the north chancel facing the nave and visible immediately on entry.”

The organ continued to suffer from ill-health throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century, and required an almost constant need for repair and refurbishment, due to its strange and mixed heritage. In November 2007, a major fault in the solid state electronic action system rendered the instrument completely unusable, and a number of the metal pipes subsequently collapsed.

It was widely agreed that repair or renovation of the instrument was not a sensible course of action. A report commissioned from Henry Groves & Son (the organ's maintainers) in 2001 is very clear on this matter, concluding that

“the organ, which has been made up from two different instruments, should not have any major money spent on it. A replacement quality instrument would, in the long term, be a far better solution both financially and tonally”.

A report in 2008 from the Council for the Care of Churches concurred. Thus, after just shy of two hundred years service, the St Peter's organ had finally played its last.

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All Saints' Church - Raleigh Street, NG7 4DP
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The office is situated on the upper floor of the St Peter's Centre, on the south side of St Peter's Church and adjacent to Marks & Spencer.

The Parish Office

The Parish Office
St Peter's Centre, St Peter's Square
Nottingham, United Kingdom,

0115 948 3658 (+44 115 948 3658 outside the UK)

Further information

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