The organs and organists at St Paul's Church Covent Garden, Bedford Street. London

Church Organ


Organ Specifications File

There was no organ at all until 1726.

In 1895, a commentator wrote:  "There have been many organist appointed from time to time, but none seem to have held the post for any period to speak of."

1726 John Travers (c.1703-1758);

Edward Clark, c.1770? (c.1728-1789);

Dr John Wall Callcott, appointed 1789 (1766-1821);

A. Moxley, Organist for 30 years (died December 1852?);

Mr C E Willing, Organist C1861;

A. Hayter, Organist in 1866;

Mr Alex F Cooper, F.C.O., Organist C.1884;

Mr Phil Macdonald, appointed 1892, still Organist in January 1895;

Harry E. Wall, Organist from 1904 till at least 1921;

William A. Gardner, Organist in 1924;

Oswald G. F. Peskett Organist from April 1952;

S. C. Stebbings Organist from January 1962;

Tim Bond, Organist 1971-74;

Ralph Elston 1974

Simon Gutteridge, 1979 -

In 1720, the vestry decided to buy an organ, by voluntary subscription, and that “any Inhabitant. . . may Apply to any of their friends who are Organ Makers to bring in Proposals”. Tenders were received from five organ-builders.

(John) Knoppell, Mr. Harris (presumably one of the sons of Renatus, senior), Mr. Gerard Smith, Mr. Christian Smith (presumably nephews of Father Schmidt), and (Christopher) Schrider.

Selection was to be by the majority vote of subscribers, who had one vote for each guinea contributed. However, objection was made to some of the tenders and the matter lapsed until 1726 when an organ (15 by 16 feet on plan) and two small galleries for the charity-school children were erected at the west end.

The organ was the work of the English organ-builder, Abraham Jordan.

The first organist was John Travers who was elected in November 1726 on the recommendation of the third Duke of Bedford “and severall other Persons of distinction”.

His salary was £30 per annum.

John Travers, born c.1703 died June 1758, was an organist and composer.

The organ was repaired by 'Mr [William] Bailey Send & Co.' in 1763.

In 1795 there was a dreadful and destructive fire which started in the church roof.

In the month of October 1795 Hardwick was appointed surveyor to the parish and produced a restoration estimate of £10,300, plus the cost of a new organ.

The choice of organ-builder was referred by the vestry to the joint organists of the parish, and J. W. Callcott recommended either John Avery or William Gray.

The latter was chosen, and subsequently retained to tune the organ at 8 guineas per annum.

The total cost of the instrument, for which Hardwick designed the case, was £577 10s.

It was tried and approved by Doctor Burney before the consecration.

By 1861 the organist could 'manage to get through' the Sunday services, but with much

difficulty owing to the 'tottering state of the Mechanism'. In that year the Duke of Bedford

paid for a three-manual instrument by Henry Bevington, which incorporated part of the case, and possibly pipes and other pieces, of the Gray organ.

The Bevington organ was completely dismantled and restored, with the addition of a bottom octave for the Swell organ, thus completing its compass, by N. P. Mander, Limited, in 1967.

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