The Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel Official Website ~ since 2009

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The John Compton organ

Many thanks to Chris Lawton, Organist at St Mary's Methodist Church Handforth, for visiting the Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel on 26th May 2010, and providing us with the following very informative write-up about the Chapel’s organ.


The present organ at Borough Welsh Chapel was built around 1950 by the famous John Compton Organ Company Ltd.  


It is typical of the kind of instruments that this company built for the smaller church or chapel.


Compton's were based in Acton, West London and were masters at organ building.  Not only did they build fine church organs but they also built many cinema organs including the Odeon, Leicester Square which is still playing today. They also built electronic organs for churches, chapels, crematoriums, pubs, clubs and private homes.  


One particular feature of the Compton company was that they built their pipe organs in such a way that less pipes were needed thus saving space and of course - money!  As a result, Comptons built organs for large civic and concert halls (including 3 for the BBC) where space was tight.  


The organ here at Borough Welsh Chapel is one such instrument.  If it was built on "traditional" lines, it would take up a lot more space than what it does!  There are 4 basic sounds on the organ - Open Diapason, Hohl Flute, Salicional and Trumpet.  The "Diapason" is the basic church organ sound you hear and the "Salicional" is a quiet string.  Flute and Trumpet are self explanatory.  All of the pipes are contained in the case on the gallery to the left if facing the front of the church.  The identical case opposite on the right is dummy. The volume of the organ is controlled from the console by something called a "swell" pedal sometimes nicknamed the acclerator!


The range of sounds are incredible for what is a small instrument - another typical Compton feature!


In short, this is a superb example of a 1950s Compton church organ in original condition. It was a really nice instrument to play!


Chris Lawton, 30th May 2010



Chris playing "Come, risen Lord" appropriately to the tune "Borough", and "For the fruits of his creation" on the John Compton organ at the Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel