“Betty” the St John’s, Hyde Park Organ

We are very proud of Betty, our 32-stop, 1636-pipe, Grade 2* listed, William Hill & Son organ. She arrived in 1865, to replace an earlier organ by Henry Bevington, which was built in 1845 and is thought to have been played by Mendelssohn shortly afterwards. In 1865, for the princely sum of £830, Hill & Son built us Betty, a wondrous creature who first lived at the West End in a gallery which has since been taken down. In 1880, she was moved to the East end of the church, and pneumatic action was added to the pedal organ in memory of Lucy A. Galloway. Further alterations in 1925 saw Rushworth and Dreaper adding octave couplers and re-voicing the reeds.

By 2013, when the Save Betty! Campaign began, she was in a state of advanced disrepair. There were a number of problems ranging from dirt and wear to more significant technical issues. Because the organ was built into the North East corner there was minimal access to many important parts of the organ. For this reason some urgent repairs were impossible to make without taking out the entire organ. Hence, the Save Betty! appeal, to get her into good order in time for her 150th birthday.

Thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund support, in March 2015 Betty went away to a spa in Malvern, run by Nicholson Organ Builders, and was completely restored. She returned in July 2015, and was officially opened by James O’Donnell in November 2015.

The website Save Betty!, which documented the restoration campaign and all its various events, can be accessed here.

Betty’s full specification listing on the National Pipe Organ Register can be reached here.

Stop List:

Great Organ

Double Diapason 16

Open Diapason 8

Coned Gamba 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Principal 4

Wald Flute 4

Twelfth 3

Fifteenth 2

Mixture IV 19.22.26.29

Posaune 8

Swell Organ

Bourdon 16

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Salicional 8

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture II: 19.22

Oboe 8

Vox Humana 8

Cornopean 8

Tremulant

Choir Organ

Dulciana 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Gemshorn 4

Suabe Flote 4

Flautina 2

Clarinet 8

Pedal Organ

Open Diapason 16

Violone 16

Bourdon 16

Principal 8

Bass Flute 8

Trombone 16

Betty, full-frontal style

Betty, full-frontal style