The history of the present instrument begins in 1860. It was an instrument of which the builders, Forster & Andrews of Hull, were very proud. Special trains were run from the West Riding for its inaugural recital.
It was originally sited on the now demolished gallery above the west door. The benefactor stipulated where the new organ should be sited and would allow no contrary opinion. It was only after his death c.1880 that the church authorities were able to move it to its present position in the north transept.
The instrument was subject to a modest re-build by Philip Selfe of Forster & Andrews in 1913/14, making some slight modifications to the stop list, installing a swell pedal which replaced the old, unsatisfactory stick type, and putting the organ into a pneumatic action, which was then the latest technology. This enabled the keys to be played more easily when coupling two or more manuals together. The original mechanical action, would however, have given the player a greater sense of immediacy. The inactive whited-out stops were largely the result of choosing more stops than could be accommodated in the swell-box.
Remarkably little had been done to it since. This has proved to be more of a blessing than a curse as the unaltered state of the instrument makes it of historic importance. That it works so well is the result of good maintenance over the years. This is thanks to John Walls, and more recently to Graham Smales. It had a new pedal-board fitted in the 1950s and was cleaned. This was a major job. A cosmetic gilding of the pipes and staining of the case was undertaken in the late 1980s.
Playing such an old-fashioned instrument has some drawbacks. The mechanical toe-pistons have their limitations and frustrations for organists with short legs. Nevertheless this organ has some first class pipework and is a pleasure to play. Many visiting organists and recitalists have commented on the wonderful smooth warm tones it can produce.
It is a 'Daimler' of organs. I hope this is properly appreciated.
Julian Savory, organist, from an article in 'Church & People' November 2010.