A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORGAN AT ST. THOMAS' CHURCH.
The original organ was designed by W. T. Best and built by William Hill and Son of London in 1886. The work was personally supervised by Best who was, at the time, a renowned organist at St. Georges Hall, Liverpool. It was built with 1682 pipes and the cost, including the "Hydraulic Engine" was about £1,000.
The organ case was designed by Mr. Basil Champneys, a cousin of Canon Savage (Vicar), who gave the designs to the church free of charge. The curved part of the woodwork was carried out by Robert Bridgeman of Lichfield whilst the panelling and other work in connection with the choir seats was done by Messrs. J. Cowle and Son.
The disastrous tower fire of 11th February 1912 which destroyed the bells and clock also seriously damaged the organ. However, all of the damage was repaired by early 1913 and a service of re-dedication was held on 24th April 1913. During the refurbishment a new Choir Organ, or third manual, was added. A Contra Fagotto (Double Bassoon or Contra Bassoon) was further added to the swell in place of a clarinet. Behind the scenes a new tubular pneumatic action was introduced throughout the instrument including a new Hydraulic Blowing Apparatus. The total cost of repair and restoration plus the upgrading of the organ amounted to £2,403. 8s. 9d of which £2,073 was paid by the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office.
The original organ pumping system was water powered, the water being supplied from one of the old Douglas reservoirs. The present organ's blower is powered by an electric motor and pump.
THE ORGANIST'S VIEW
VIEWS FROM BEHIND THE SCENES
The History of St. Thomas' Church 1949 - 1992 (Church Brochure)
Centenary of St. Thomas' Church 1849 - 1946 ( Souvenir Brochure)
The Building of St. Thomas' Church 1971 (I.O.M. Natural History & Antiquarian Society- Presidential Address by Mrs A G Flanagan)
Organs on the Isle of Man (Isle-of-Man.com)