Front Cover

Tonbridge School 

by Gary Tollerfield

It seems impossible that the fire which destroyed Tonbridge School Chapel and its Binns organ occurred twenty years ago, in September 1988. It took until 1995 before the Chapel was rebuilt and a new organ by Marcussen installed.

   For a number of years the new organ was painted grey overall, until the present decorative scheme was undertaken to complete the visual effect, complementing the richly decorated east end reredos, altar canopy and celure paneling.

   Our visit to Tonbridge School on 12th January was, I believe, the first time the KCOA had seen the reconstructed Chapel and organ in its totally completed state. The organ case is beautifully proportioned, with just a hint of Kings College Cambridge in there somewhere. A satisfying design feature is that the chair (choir) case is an almost exact half scale replica of the main case. Interestingly, we have seen this device once before on a KCOA cover in February 2005 at Christchurch Priory, but in a classical architectural context.

   It must also be for twenty years or more that I have photographed organ cases to front our Kent County Organists’ Association Journal and penned a few paragraphs of description. Today’s well produced and printed Journal is certainly in a different league to the early A4 photocopied and stapled efforts back in the 1980s.



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