(completed March 2018)

"... an organ of a superior description ..."

On Sunday 15 January 1865, the first pipe organ to be legally installed and authorised for use in Divine Worship in an 'Established' Church of Scotland (after the Reformation) was inaugurated at the new Anderston Parish Church. It was built by the renowned London organ building firm of William Hill & Son, with the Glasgow Herald of the following day observing "We may add that an organ of a superior description has been fitted up in the building, and this instrument was yesterday played upon by Mr Lambeth". Mr Lambeth had been Organist to the Glasgow Corporation since 1853.

Minor alterations were undertaken by Harrison & Harrison of Durham in 1882, under the direction of organist Josiah Ives (later the City Organist of Adelaide, Australia).

As a result of the union of the Church of Scotland congregations in the Anderston district, the church building (by then known as Anderston-St Peter's Parish Church) became redundant, and sadly was demolished in 1969 when the M8 motorway was built. The venerable Hill organ was removed to storage and installed, with minor alterations, in St Bride's in 1972 by James A. MacKenzie, a noted Glasgow organ builder. It replaced a nine-stop three-manual and pedal Peter Conacher chamber organ, which had been in the church since 1916.

In 2011 BBC Radio Scotland recorded a fascinating interview with Chris Bragg at St Bride's about the Hill organ. You can listen to it HERE .

The William Hill & Son organ (1865) of St Bride's Episcopal Church, Glasgow


Open Diapason                   8

Stopped Diapason              8

Dulciana                               8

Principal                              4

Wald Flute                          4

Twelfth                         2 2/3

Fifteenth                             2

Mixture                             III

Trumpet                              8


Bourdon                             16

Open Diapason                   8

Stopped Diapason              8

Principal                              4

Fifteenth                              2

Mixture                              III

Horn                                     8

Oboe                                     8


Open Diapason                   16

Bourdon                               16


Great to Pedals

Swell to Pedals

Swell to Great


Three composition pedals to the Great Organ

Balanced swell pedal


Mechanical action

Manual compass 56 notes, pedal compass 30 notes

Watkins & Watson "Discus" blower

Fortunately the St Bride's organ escaped modernisation, a practice that was prevalent amongst organ builders in the 1970s, except for the worn-out (straight and flat) pedalboard, which was replaced by a new (radiating and concave) pedalboard. Therefore the magnificent organ in St Bride's today is more or less in its original, tonally unaltered state. It is an organ not only of considerable historical interest, but also a musical instrument of outstanding quality and of national importance in its own right. In recognition of this, in 2010 it was awarded a Historic Organ Certificate by the British Institute of Organ Studies.

Below you will see a photographic account of the Hill organ restoration as it progressed from dismantling and removal in July 2017 until re-installation and completion in March 2018. Click on each image to enlarge and see captions.

Dismantling and removal of the organ, early July 2017.

Photos by Max Hepburn.

In the workshop, July-December 2017

Photos courtesy of H&H, Matthew Hynes and Max Hepburn

Rebuilding of the organ, Jan-March 2018.

Photos by Max Hepburn and H&H