Private Residence

James Corps, Hampstead, London, ca.1856-1858
1 manual, 4 speaking stops, mechanical action
A rare example of the work of a lesser-known English organbuilder


Residence of Julian and Margaret Ridgers, Launceston

The provenance of this fascinating and rare instrument is unclear. It was designed as a chamber organ and doubtless would have graced a residence somewhere in Tasmania, possibly in the eastern regions, where it was located until 1981 in Holy Trinity Anglican Church, St Mary's, a wooden building which was subsequently demolished [1].

The instrument was purchased by Hans Meijer and thoroughly restored. It was sold to Julian and Margaret Ridgers in 1997 and installed in their home at Newstead.

The builder was James Corps (c. 1807-1870), a former employee of Flight & Robson, whose work is scarce. A small number of intact instruments by Corps are listed on the National Pipe Organ Register in the United Kingdom. The date of construction is likely to be around 1857 as Corps occupied a workshop in Hampstead, London between 1856 and 1858 according to the Freeman-Edmonds Directory of British Organ Builders [2].

A Fifteenth 2 in spotted metal was subsequently added on a clamp at the front of the chest, but this has now been removed.

Hans Meijer recorded in 1997:

"The slider chest consists of toeboards, sliders and bearers, table, frontboards and sides made of mahogany, and bars and pallets made of pine. The grooves are sealed with vellum.

The stop combination action is made of wrought iron. The stop bars are made of mahogany and the stopknobs, engraved with the stop names [in copperplate] are of ivory.

Wind is supplied by two feeder bellow and reservoir from either a small electric blower or a hand operated lever.

The case is made of pine with cedar and mahogany veneers which are finished with French polish. The side panels are finished with 'faux bois' [grained]. The ornaments and mouldings are made of mahogany and cedar. The façade 'dummy' pipes are covered in tin foil [originally gilt] and the mouths are gilded.

The workmanship throughout the organ is excellent. The materials used are of high quality with fine timbers used for all parts including some pipework. The metal pipework has a high percentage of lead." [3]

 Open Diapason  8 TC 49 pipes in metal
 Diapason's Bafs  8 GG-BB ] 66 pipes in white pine and mahogany
 Stopt Diapason  8 TC ]
 Dulciana  8 TC 45 pipes in metal
 Principal  4 5 pipes in wood, 61 pipes in metal


Pedal pulldowns
Compass: Manual GG-c4 66 notes
Pedal GG-C, 18 notes
3 composition pedals

[1] Inspected, photographed and details recorded at St Mary's 1970 by John Maidment when the instrument was still hand blown

[2] The Freeman-Edmonds Directory of British Organ Builders. Draft edition. British Institute of Organ Studies, p. 121

[3] 'Restorations: James Corps Chamber Organ, Tasmania', OHTA News, vol 21, no 4 (October, 1997), pp.18-19