The Handel Organ at St Lawrence Little Stanmore
The construction of the organ dates from around 1717, contemporary with the rebuilding of the church by the Duke of Chandos, to whom Handel was Composer in Residence. As such, it is one of the few organs with a genuine claim to have been played by Handel. It has now been established, from examination of markings on the surviving original pipes, that the instrument was almost certainly the work of Gerard Smith, nephew of 'Father' Smith.
The original single-manual instrument was enlarged by Hill in 1847, who added a short-compass Swell; it was reconstructed by Brindley & Foster in 1877 when the modern CC compass was introduced. Further changes were made by Gray & Davison in 1913 and by The John Compton Organ Company in 1949, leaving the instrument with an electropneumatic action and a detached console. Nevertheless, the organ has remained in its original position, now almost unique, at the east end of the church behind the altar, where it forms an integral part of the almost theatrical frescoed interior. Important survivals from the original instrument include not only the original case and gilded front pipes (silent since 1877) but also one stop of diapason pipes and part of the original keyboard.
The New Organ
The restoration work was undertaken by Martin Goetze & Dominic Gwynn of Welbeck +44 1909 485635
Please click here to download the Organ Specification as a Word document