The Organ

The House of Brindley Organ builders of Sheffield 1845-1939

Bryan Hughes: The House of Brindley Organ builders of Sheffield 1845-1939
Musical Opinion

Softback: 358 pages, copiously illustrated with several illustrations in colour. Publication Price: £50 - post free, available from – Musical Opinion Ltd, 453 Battle Road St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 7BB.

This book tells the story of the Brindley Company of organ builders from its earliest beginnings in 1845 and foundation in 1853, to the outbreak of World War II in 1939, in which year it was acquired by Henry Willis & Sons Ltd.

It is an enthralling story, intimately bound up with the mood of entre­preneurial development that inspired so many British innovators and companies throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras and which so clearly and consistently drove the power­house that was Northern England, coincidental with the est­abl­ish­ment of a national free education system for all children, regardless of background, and the reinforcement of an apprenticeship system for those children once they had left school.

The Brindley Company was not alone in benefitting from an educated and trained workforce, but in terms of the trade in which they operated – the design and manufacture of organs for worship and for civic buildings – they became one of the finest British com­p­anies specialising in such work, a supreme example of commerce in the service of art – so much so, in fact, that not only for the benefit of their con­temp­oraries but also in terms of the legacy they bequeathed they stand as a greatly significant company in the field in which they operated.

To tell this story, the author, Bryan Hughes, has been assiduous in his research and proactive in collecting material, in the latter instance by visiting many of the churches and buildings which house surviving Brindley organs and by photographing the instruments in their surroundings, making this, his third book on the history of organ builders, a unique record of a great British story.