1994: Church re-organ-ised

A Purbeck church is to re-open to the public after a major two-year restoration of its organ.

A special concert to mark the completion of the £30,000 plus restoration is being held at St. James, Kingston, on Wednesday. This will feature internationally-renowned organist Peter Hurford.

Kingston rector the Rev. Robert Watton said: “For two years the church has virtually been unusable during the restoration.”

The organ has a noted tonal design and high quality pipework some of which is attributed to the Frenchman, Cavaille-Coll. During the restoration parts of the organ filled much of the church. Services were held in the choir stalls.

The organ was installed when St. James church was built in the 1870s. The church was the work of architect George Street, who designed London’s law courts. It has been descibed as having “the perfect Victorian church interior”. The third Earl of Eldon is said to have spared no expense in the building of the church in local stone. It may have been constructed as a memorial to the first earl, John Scott, who was Lord Chancellor for 25 years.

Tickets for Wednesday evening’s recital, which will include works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck and Bournemouth composer Percy Whitlock, are £5. The concert strarts at 8pm.