HKG1917

Census IDHKG1917
LocationHong Kong, Union Church
BuilderBlackett and Howden
SpecsIII/30 + Ped
ActionTracker/tubular pneumatic
Cost1,000 GBP

An organ built by Blackett and Howden, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to specs drawn up by the church’s organist, E.J. Chapman. The organ arrived in March 1917, and was installed by William Charlton Blackett (1859-1941), who for the next quarter-century was a major figure in Hong Kong’s organ culture.

The Bryceson organ (HKG1860), bought from St. John’s Cathedral back in 1883, had been rebuilt by Moutrie in 1907-08 with virtually everything except the pipes replaced. But by 1913 it had evidently reached the end of its life and most of it was “sold as scrap”.

The new, partly-pneumatic action organ had the following specs:

Great

Double Diapason  16′

Open Diapason 8′

Hohl Flöte 8′

Salicional 8′

Dulciana 8′

Principal 4′

Harmonic Flute 4′

Fifteenth 2′

Trumpet 8′

Swell

Open Diapason  8′

Rohr Flöte 8′

Harmonic Flute 8′

Viole d’orchestre 8′

Voix célestis (from Tenor c) 8′

Principal 4′

Flautina 2′

Mixture II

Bassoon 16′

Horn 8′

Oboe 8′

Choir

Open Diapason  8′

Vox Angelica 8′

Viole de gamba 8′

Stopped Diapason 8′

Suabe Flöte 4′

Clarinet 8′

Pedal

Open Diapason  16′

Bourdon 16′

[Octave ] 8′

[Bass Flute] 8′

 Couplers  GT/Ped, SW/Ped, SW/GT, SW octave, SW/CH, CH/Ped
Accesories ‘Poppet pedal’ (reversible pedal) GT/Ped, 4 composition pedals GT and Ped, 4 composition pedals SW

It is not clear if the 8′ pedal stops were installed, or only prepared for. Some of the ranks (perhaps eight) in HKG1917 were retained by Chapman from the 1860 Bryceson.

Union Church was badly damaged by bombing during World War Two, and parts of the church were taken away as building supplies for the Japanese reconstruction of nearby Government House. The church was replaced with a new building between 1949 and 1955.

The entire church complex was sold for redevelopment to Henderson Land in 2017, despite protests from preservation groups; it has been demolished and is being rebuilt as a residential property.