William Hill Organ
The Kidderminster Town Hall organ was built by public subscription in 1855, and was one of the earlier municipal organs. The instrument was built by William Hill and Son, one of the most eminent builders of the day, and is particularly interesting in that it has been maintained largely in its original form, having low wind pressure and tracker action just as when it was built. In 1908 three new stops were added, two of which have been retained to the present day. A major overhaul took place in 1950 and the opportunity was taken to adapt the existing pipework to concert hall use.
In 1980 the Wyre Forest District Council, the owners of the instrument, decided to completely rebuild and restore the historic organ, and the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust gave valuable assistance in grant-aiding this work. William Hill and Son and Norman and Beard Ltd. carried out the enormous task of dismantling the organ, cleaning it thoroughly and restoring it to its former state, and use was made of modern techniques and knowledge to ease the heavy touch of the original tracker action.
The refurbished organ was inaugurated at a recital given on 1st March 1982 by Dr Francis Jackson, then the organist of York Minster. Since then many private individuals have taken the opportunity to play the instrument, and programmes of recitals have been given, including performances by some of the best-known names in the field of organ music.
The Hill Organ Promotion Society (HOPS)
The Society, a voluntary organisation, was established in 1983 to continue the promotion of organ recitals at the Town Hall, in succession to the Wyre Forest District Council – owners of the Hall and the instrument. Chairman of the Society is Mr. Tim Morris, who holds the position of Honorary Town Hall Organist.
The Society aims to promote lunchtime recitals and occasional evening concerts, and to publicise and promote the instrument in other ways.
If you are interested in joining the Society and helping to ensure that this important and historic organ continues to be heard, please get in touch with:
Hill Organ Promotion Society