Historic organ sings loud and proud

Re-dedication of Wellhead Snetzler organ at Halifax Minster. From the left, director of music Chris Brown, reverend canon Hilary Barber and David Baker.
Re-dedication of Wellhead Snetzler organ at Halifax Minster. From the left, director of music Chris Brown, reverend canon Hilary Barber and David Baker.
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The historic Wellhead Snetzler Organ was rededicated with a service at Halifax Minster on Sunday.

The 1770 Snetzler organ, which was first made for a prominent Halifax family, is being lovingly restored to its former glory and the service was a fitting celebration of the first stage of the work.

The organ had been missing for some years, but following detective work by Professor David Baker, an eminent organist and David Glover, a historian and genealogist, it was found in St Peter’s convent in Horbury, Wakefield.

The convent donated the organ, then in disrepair, to the Minster and it will now be used for educational purposes.

Vicar of Halifax, Hilary Barber, said: “To have the organ back in Halifax and in the Minster is terrific, as there’s such a history of music making here.

“Hearing the notes that had been lovingly hand made gives us the inspiration for the organ to be fully restored.”

Research into its history by David Glover revealed that the organ was commissioned by the well-to-do Waterhouse family from Johann Snetzler, an organ builder of Swiss origin who worked mostly in England and was regarded as the most famous organ builder of the 18th century.

It is estimated that it will cost £150,000 to restore the Wellhead Snetzler Organ and it is hoped the Minster’s other organ can also be restored.

If you would like to make a contribution, contact the Minster Office on 01422 355436.