The 1959 West Organ
The current West Organ was built by NP Mander in 1959, replacing a smaller organ by Lewis that had been purchased second-hand by the church when it opened in 1932.
The magnificent copper facade, with pipes of up to 16 feet in length, is thought to be the first of its kind in the country. This will be retained as part of the new organ.
The West Organ served St Mildred's well for almost 60 years, providing the accompaniment to congregational hymn singing as well as organ voluntaries. After a fire destroyed the Choir Organ at the east end of the church in 1985, the West Organ was thoroughly cleaned and overhauled. That aside, it had no major work throughout its life.
It is played from the console of the East Organ, a small instrument used for choral accompaniment and also built by NP Mander to replace the destroyed choir organ in 1987.
As was common in post-war England, the West Organ was built from disparate components and pipework recycled from older instruments (including the Lewis organ it replaced). Much of it appears to be Victorian, and by the end of 2017 it had reached the end of its useful life and was no longer playable.
In particular, its timber had suffered from the low humidity associated with modern central heating, and major issues had developed.
Attempting to restore the existing instrument would have been extremely costly, and likely to be short-lived compared with a new organ built with modern materials resistant to problems of heat and humidity.