Book Review
by Malcolm Hall

The Organs of Canterbury Cathedral’
by Toby Huitson

In this 25page booklet Toby Huitson has brought together a wealth of historical material, tracing the known origins of many of the Cathedral instruments from the 12th century to the present day. Each of the ten sections deals with a different historical era.

Forget about the rather drab leaflets and booklets about organs produced for our cathedrals and larger churches during the ‘60s and ‘70s; this new one for Canterbury is awash with glossy photographs and illustrations, many in colour. The text is clear and concise without becoming too technical; many of the illustrations show fascinating littleknown details such as the proposed design for an organ case of 1885 by G.O. Scott, and photographs of the console and pipework in 1912, and Dr. Gerald Knight at the console in 1949.

As one would expect, the section dealing with the 19th and 20th centuries contains by far the most information. It seems hard to believe that as early as 1886 the Willis instrument contained electric action powered by mercury key contacts. In part ten Toby gives details of the other five instruments to be found in the Cathedral, including information on the transept organ built principally for use by the King’s School during the 1930s, and recently moved to St. Bartholomew’s Almshouse Chapel in Sandwich.

Toby Huitson has produced a colourful and informative booklet which should appeal to both organists and nonorganists alike. Toby works at the Cathedral and is assistant organist of St. Leonard’s, Hythe. The Organs of Canterbury Cathedral is published by Cathedral Enterprises Ltd. at a cost of 3.95 and is available only at the new gift shop.

Click to return to Contents page