Front Cover - St Mary Portsea

by Gary Tollerfield 

The Walker organ of St Mary Portsea was built in 1889 in the new church designed by the accomplished architect Sir Arthur Blomfield. The organ case, also designed by Blomfield, did not appear until 1901 owing to lack of funds, but it was worth the wait.

   This Edwardian period produced a number of quality organ cases by established architects and organ builders, which stood out amongst the ubiquitous “pipe rack” fronts from the Victorian period. Architects Giles Gilbert (Liverpool Cathedral Lady Chapel) and J O Scott (Lichfield Cathedral), along with Bodley (St Michael Croydon), Pearson (All Saints Hove) and Blomfield (Southwark Cathedral) are in the top flight together with organ builder Hill.

   Here at Portsea, Blomfield produces a fine case that has strong Perpendicular Gothic influences. However, the projecting pipes above the cornices are a pity, and pipes extending through two “flats” never look quite right. There is no doubt though, that the case exudes that Edwardian confidence and has a real strength of composition.



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