Front Cover

by Gary Tollerfield

For me, part of the enjoyment of belonging to the KCOA is to visit an unknown church for the first time. So often beautiful architecture, stained glass, joinery and monuments will excite interest, as the history of the building begins to unfold. Frequently, the organ will also be a surprise, as was the case (pun intended!) at Maidstone Baptist Church.

We were to find a Victorian pipe rack case of high quality, with three towers. The centre tower has gothic gables and all three are surmounted with crowns. The case pipes are stencilled throughout their length and the carved angels are a status addition.

The review of our meeting in the August 2003 Journal states that the organ was exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition, and installed at St John Hove before being brought to Maidstone Baptist Church. It is thought that the organ may have been built for The Royal Pavilion, Brighton. With its crowns and high decoration this is possible, but if the organ was new in 1851 surely unlikely, as in 1850 Brighton Pavilion was bought from The Crown by Brighton Town Council.

The case is possibly as early as 1830, and could it be that the organ was taken out of The Pavilion when sold, overhauled and exhibited in 1851, to be re-sold to St John Hove? An unlikely story I hear you say.


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