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Town Centre Churches

Organ & Organists

The Organ at St Stephen’s

The organ at St Stephen’s was built by Hill and Sons in 1898, was restored by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1951, and by Principal Pipe Organs (York) in 2009.  Its specification is shown below.

Double Diapason 16 Contra Salicional 16
Open Diapason 1 8 Geigen Diapason 8
Open Diapason 2 8 Salicional 8
Hohl Flute 8 Vox Angelica 8
Spitz Flute 4 Stopped Diapason 8
Octave 2 Principal 4
Twelfth 2 2/3 Wald Flute 4
Fifteenth 2 Fifteenth 2
Mixture 3 ranks Mixture 3 ranks
Posaune 8 Oboe 8
Clarion 4 Tremulant
Swell to Great Double Trumpet 16
Choir to Great Trumpet 8
Great and Pedal pistons Clarion 4
Unison off
Lieblich Bourdon 16 Acoustic Bass 32
Open Diapason 8 (from Bourdon)
Viol d’Orchestre 8 Open Wood 16
Lieblich Gedackt 8 Violone 16
Dulciana 8 Bourdon 16
Saube Flute 4 Octave 8
Harmonic Gemshorn 2 Bass Flute 8
Clarinet 8 Fifteenth 4
Tremulant Trombone 16
Tuba 8 Trumpet 16
Swell to Choir
Unison off


1881 – 1893 T.J.Baker

He has the distinction of being the first organist of the church. However, from 1881 to 1885 the nave was being built and from 1886 until 1898 the Lady Chapel and Chancel were under construction. In 1885 the first organ (Hill) was installed in a special chamber in the nave, where it remained for the next twelve years.

1894 – 1930 Henry Holloway, D.Mus. FRCO

Holloway had been a chorister at Worcester Cathedral before becoming the Assistant Organist there. The promise of an expanded and repositioned organ at St.Stephen’s must have enticed him to Bournemouth and he was organist here for thirty- six years.

The choir was very healthy under his leadership, as can be seen from a photograph in the choir vestry (1921) which shows a full set of boys and men. He was a composer/ organist and the anthem “Abide with me” is still in the choir’s library and was given an airing recently.

There is a communion service (in manuscript) and a considerable amount of orchestral music in the BSO archive. He resigned in 1930 (taking much of the choir with him). From 1933 – 36 he was organist at Christchurch Priory before retiring after 56 years as a church musician. He was a scholarly and well respected man.

1930 – 1935 Percy Whitlock

1936 – 1966 Cyril Knight, FRCO,FLCM

Cyril Knight succeeded Percy Whitlock in 1936 and became a well respected figure in Bournemouth’s musical world. Primarily, he was an accomplished organist especially in the field of service accompaniment.

Under him, the men and boys choir flourished from the late 1940s until the early 1960s. He taught music at Porchester School from where most of the boys came. He was also, for many years, Chorusmaster of the Municipal Choir and a leading light in the Bournemouth Schools Music Association, famous for its Christmas Concerts in the Winter Gardens.

By the mid-sixties, he was finding it difficult to recruit boys and left St.Stephen’s for St.Peter’s. He returned to St.Stephen’s in 1976 and remained as organist to within a month of his death in 1982. He was not primarily a composer, but his lovely tune “Meyrick Park” has been included in the New English Hymnal.

He was one of three brothers: Marcus was Dean of Exeter Cathedral and Eric a member of St.Stephen’s choir for forty years

1967 – 1975 Spencer Fackerell

Spencer Fackerell was organist during a difficult period in the late sixties. He was Director of Music at Edinburgh House Preparatory School in New Milton.

During his time as organist, the choir of ladies and men was established. It was during this period that the Town Centre Parish was created.

1976 Roger Hill

Roger Hill was organist for a few months before he left to take the position at St.Peter’s Parkstone

1976 – 1982 Cyril Knight

1982 – 1988 Ian Harrison, BA, FRCO, FTCL

Ian Harrison was a chorister at Blackburn Cathedral under John Bertalot. A graduate of Durham University, where he read Music, he studied the organ with Alan Thurlow.

He was the Musical Director of the annual St. Stephen’s festival.

He  introduced music from the Renaissance and Classical periods to the choir’s repertoire. During the 80’s he reintroduced boys voices into the choir. He is now in his second period as organist.

1988 – 1994 Anthony Wood, ARCO

“Tony” was a much loved enthusiast. He came to organ playing later in life and for many years was organist at Dorking Congregational Church.

At the age of 56 he gained his ARCO whilst holding down a demanding job with a large manufacturing firm.

He retired to the New Forest and for three years was organist at Boldre. In 1988, he became organist at St Stephen’s, a position he held until June 1994. He died a month later. He loved the church and died a very musically fulfilled man.

1994 – September 2019,  Ian Harrison (see above)

October 2019   –  present. Sean Tucker, GTCL (Hons), FTCL, ARCM, FRSA, FGMS, MISM