Hemel Hempstead – St John’s Church, Boxmoor
The Church of St John the Evangelist in Boxmoor was dedicated in its present form on Easter Tuesday 1874. One hundred and thirty years later, it remains a vibrant centre for promoting music and performance in worship and praise.
The original 41 stop, three-manual organ was built by Lindsay Garrard of Lechlade in 1906, occupying the two easternmost bays of the south aisle with an integral console. A further reconstruction was carried out by Foskett & Co in 1936.
In 1969 Alfred E Davies & Son Ltd of Northampton rebuilt the organ on an economy basis. The console was relocated to the north aisle, whilst the organ was reduced to the upper level of the second bay in the south aisle with a passageway at ground floor level to provide a throughway to what then became the full-height choir vestry. This resulted in the organ being reduced to 20 speaking stops.
Whilst a good instrument of its time, the musical limitations of the organ, as rebuilt by Davies, had become apparent for some time and much of the internal action of the organ was nearing the end of its working life. In addition, during the West End rebuilding work of 2000/1, considerable amounts of dirt, dust and grit had been carried into the instrument and were aggravating its unreliability.
Initial discussions in 2004 resulted in Nicholson & Co being commissioned in 2010 to build a new organ. Work commenced in January 2011 and was completed in November 2011.
The Great organ has been placed in the choir arch, cantilevered out so that most of the congregation will have line-of-sight and therefore maximum acoustic ‘presence’. The Swell organ has been enclosed and has two sets of shutters, one facing into the choir and the other into the nave. The Pedal is behind and to the side of the expression box and the Solo Trumpet has now been placed in the nave arch directly behind the display pipes.
To view or download the specification, please click here.