St John's Church, Stratford, E15
St John's Church, Stratford, London E15

St John's Pipe Organ
St John's Pipe Organ

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The present organ has 3 manuals, 34 speaking stops and pneumatic action throughout. It stands on the south side of the chancel.

The original organ, which stood on the west end gallery (long since removed), was built by Holdich in 1849, fifteen years after the completion of the building, and had 16 speaking stops. The fate of this instrument is not known but some of the pipework from it was incorporated into the new organ of 1895.

This organ, built by Lewis, had 26 speaking stops and was housed in the chancel, which had recently been built onto the original structure of 1834.

In 1920, Hill, Norman and Beard rebuilt and enlarged the Lewis organ. A plaque on the organ case records the dedication of the instrument in its present form.

Having given excellent service for many years, it suffered considerable damage in the early 1980s when water leaked into the organ chamber through an opening in the roof. The damage to the Great was such that this part of the instrument became almost unplayable.

In 1988 the damage was repaired by Martin Cross who attended to many long-standing faults at the same time. Sadly, Martin passed away in 2017. We are grateful to him for the personal interest he took in the 'Old Lady', and are pleased that his business partner, Richard Sheppard, will continue to maintain it.

In 2012 the organ was awarded a certificate Grade 2 by The British Institute of Organ Studies and was listed in the Institute's "Register of Historic Pipe Organs" as being an instrument of importance to the national heritage and one deserving careful preservation for the benefit of future generations.

Many have praised St John's organ for its glorious sound. It continues to give excellent service as an aid to worship and as a recital instrument of distinction.

Past organists: Percy Taylor; Arthur See (1960-1980); Paul Brown (1980-1984); Darryl East (1984-1987); Geoffrey Hobbs (1987-2007); Jacqui Mwaniki (2007-2009); Geoffrey Hobbs (2009-2019)

Organ Specification

(only reeds enclosed)
(top note F)
Double Diapason (16')*
Double Dulciana (16')
Dulciana (8')
Open Diapason (16')
Open Diapason no.1 (8')
Open Diapason (8')
Salicional (8')
Bourdon (16')
Open Diapason no.2 (8')
Gamba (8')
Lieblich Gedeckt (8')
Octave (8')*
Harmonic Flute (8')
Voix Celeste (8')
Flauto Traverso (4')
Bass Flute (8')*
Clarabella (8')
Rohr Flute (8')
Orchestral Oboe (8')*
Trombone (16')*
Principal (4')
Principal (4')
Clarinet (8')
Ch/Ped, Gr/Ped and Sw/Ped
Flute (4')
Fifteenth (2')
Twelfth (22/3')
Double Trumpet (16')*
Sub Octave, Unison Off and Octave
Fifteenth (2')
Horn (8')
Mixture (3 ranks)
Oboe (8')
Trumpet (8')
Vox Humana (8')*
Ch/Gr and Sw/Gr
Clarion (4')*
Sub Octave, Unison Off and Octave

4 non-adjustable thumb/toe pistons to Gr/Ped
4 non-adjustable thumb/toe pistons to Swell
2 central, balanced swell pedals

* New stops added in 1920 by Hill, Norman and Beard (8 in all)
Specification of the Holdich Organ (1849)

This instrument stood on the west end gallery which was later removed.

It had 2 manuals, a short-compass pedal board and 16 speaking stops with, presumably, tracker action throughout.

GREAT (GG to f3)
SWELL (c to f3)
PEDAL (1½ octaves)
Open Diapason
Double Diapason
Open Pedal Pipes
Stopt Diapason
Open Diapason
Stopt Diapason

Geoffrey Hobbs

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