St. Bartholomew's, Armley

The Schulze Organ Story



For details of the growth of the specification, from the small two-manual and pedal instrument first envisaged, to the large four-manual organ actually built, we are dependent on the existing correspondence from Schulze & Sons to Kennedy.  Unfortunately this is incomplete, neither have copies of Kennedy's letters to Schulze been preserved, if indeed they were ever made.  It is clear from the German letters that Kennedy was expected to visit Paulinzelle at least once again, and it is probable that the final specification, of which no record now exists, was arranged during such a visit, or was confirmed by Kennedy following the visit.

The first letter from Schulze & Sons is in quaint English as follows:

The second letter of 13th September, 1866, is written in German, as are the remaining letters,* but the first specification is in English and uses mainly English stop nomenclature. Described as "a new organ for a large house," this instrument shows several interesting features.  The second manual is an unenclosed Choir organ, there being no mention of a Swell organ.  The Choir division shows an undue preponderance of 8ft. stops the object being, as stated in the accompanying letter: "to obtain the richest possible selection of fine solo stops."  The Great organ has a Diapason chorus with the Twelfth and Fifteenth on a common slider, which is important when comparing the early specifications of the four-manual instrument with regard to the Rausch Quinte.  The very small Pedal organ is interesting in that two 8ft. stops of different tone are provided for use with a single 16ft. Sub-Bass.  Three manual stops lack their own basses, being grooved into the basses of other stops, and this economy in pipes persists throughout the growth of the organ.  The Schulze firm state in the letter that they would prefer to make the display pipes silent "as by this arrangement the mechanism is simplified and the tone improved." The cost of this organ, including a Gothic case in oak with front pipes of 87.5% tin and all metal speaking pipes of 62.5% tin, carriage and erection in Leeds, is quoted as £500.

*All subsequent quotations from the German corresondence come from translations made from the manuscripts for
Mr. Iles Pulford, a former organist of the church, with emendations in consultation with Mr. and Mrs. R.F.M.Bryn.

Evidently this small instrument was not acceptable to Kennedy, who must also have had   misgivings regarding the use of wood for the bass octave of the Open Diapason 8ft. since, in   a letter of 6th October, 1866, the following passages occur:

We enclose a new specification for the building of the organ you desire, together with an outline plan and two vertical cross-sections showing the inner construction . . . we cannot make the low octave of Principal 8 ft. equally well with tin as with wood; the high octaves of Bordun, Lieblich Gedact etc. however, are better made from tin than wood. In this matter you can rely on our judgement. If well voiced, the change from wood to tin pipes is inaudible and we guarantee that you will not find the slightest fualt in this respect when the organ is completed.
Also, in the Great Organ we have left the Trompete 8 ft. where it is, whereas you preferred Hautboy 8ft. We have done this because, by the inclusion of Mixtur 3 ranks and the Open 16ft. Bass, the organ has gained considerably in power and consequently the mor powerful Trompete is more suitable than the Hautboy”

The pipes in the organ front are again to be dumb and details of the dimensions, layout and fittings of the room in which the organ is to be placed are requested to ensure that the case will be in harmony.  Another visit by Kennedy to Paulinzelle is suggested.

This specification, which is again for a two-manual and pedal
instrument, is the most complete in the German correspondence.
Further modifications are referred to in the later letters, but as
already mentioned the final specification of the four-manual organ
has not survived. In this two-manual specification Schulze reverts
to the traditional German nomenclature for the two manual
departments (Hauptwerk and Oberwerk), but in the list of
couplers Hauptwerk becomes Grosswerk (i.e. Great Organ) and it
is noteworthy that the reversed coupler Grosswerk to Oberwerk is
included in addition to the Oberwerk to Grosswerk coupler. All
the pipes are unenclosed, there being no mention of a swell box. 
The high proportion of wooden pipes (25 per cent. if the reeds are
excluded) is remarkable and the compass has evidently been
extended from 56 to 61 notes at Kennedy's request.

Three stops have been added, together with a remark on the tone
of the Principalbass 16ft., in English, and the Mixtur 3 fach
(i.e. 3-fold) has "4 ranks" written above it in the same hand.  It is
probable that these insertions were made by Kennedy since, in a
letter dated 23rd November, 1866, the following comments by
Schulze occur:

The addition of a Dulciana 8ft. In the Great Organ will be suitable for the purpose for which you require it. We are likewise in agreement with you with regard to the Mixtur. The tone becomes fresher, especially with the low notes”.

This last comment may very probably refer to a suggestion by
Kennedy that the Mixtur should be modified by the addition of a
fourth rank, as indicated by the insertion in English.  If this is so,
it would support the contention that the final five-rank Mixtur
existed in the instrument at Meanwood and was not added or
completed later.

The suggestion of a Flageolet 2ft. in the Oberwerk, however, was
not so acceptable to Schulze, who considered that the 4ft. stop of
full compass, played an octave higher, gave the required effect,
but he was quite willing to insert the 2ft. stop if it were required
for some special purpose.  This reluctance to include separate 2ft.
ranks persisted throughout the design of the instrument (see
chapter IX).

Schulze also suggests the addition of a Posaune 16ft. to the Pedal Organ, which he says would "appreciably increase the sparkle of the Pedal." He also remarks that: ‘After this we believe that the organ will be so complete that it will leave nothing more to be desired as far as range is concerned’

But in a letter of 31st December, 1866, which was evidently a letter of introduction from Schulze to an organist friend and which had been preserved by Kennedy, Schulze says:
‘Mrs Kennedy is having a house organ built by us. For the present, it will have 2 manuals, and 24 stops and is later to be completed as quite a large one. (author’s italics)

This, together with the addition of an open Principalbass 16ft. and the possibility of a Posaune 16ft. on the Pedal Organ, makes it clear that at this stage Kennedy was contemplating a very much larger instrument than initially, and it is probable that the provision of a separate structure to accommodate it was being considered at that time.

This letter of introduction was written by Schulze to enable Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Broughton, the chorus master of the Leeds Musical Festival, to see and to hear two organs built by Schulze & Sons in Düsseldorf. The instrument in the concert hall evidently pleased the visitors greatly and included a swell box, mention of which appears in a letter from Schulze of 7th June, 1867.

We ourselves are not satisfited with the Swell in Dusseldorf, although we cannot account for its weak effort with any degree of
certainty . . , we shall make every endeavour in your organ to make a more efficient swell box than we managed in Dusseldorf”.

It is therefore probable that Kennedy was contemplating the addition of a Swell Organ to his instrument after the visit to Düsseldorf and that by June, 1867, his organ had grown to be a three-manual and pedal instrument.

On 16th January, 1867, Kennedy evidently wrote to Schulze suggesting a Principal 8ft. similar to that by Father Smith in the Temple Church, London. Schulze replied on 31st January that he was willing to make such a stop:

In a letter of 31st January, 1867, Edmund Schulze suggests that, to satisfy Kennedy's wish for a separate 2ft. rank in the Echo Organ, a Nasard 2⅔ft. and a Flautino 2ft. should replace the Harmonica 2-3 ranks.  This is the first mention of an Echo division and it seems that at this stage the original Choir Organ had been abandoned in favour of an Echo Organ containing a 2-3 rank mixture. The Nasard and Flautino appear in the present Echo Organ. Schulze requests "drawings of the place for the organ as soon as possible."  These were received by 16th March, 1867, and were approved by Schulze as giving adequate space for the instrument.  He requests that the walls and ceiling of the organ chamber be plastered to improved the reflection of the sound since "Wood absorbs the sound and allows it to escape through the joints."  This strongly suggests that the organ had now outgrown its original intended site in Meanwood Towers, and that the wooden structure which finally housed it in the grounds of the mansion was already in preparation.

By 14th May, 1867, the main components of the organ, including the soundboards, bellows and pneumatic motors were being made, and drawings of the internal arrangement were forwarded to Kennedy, whilst in a letter of 7th June, 1867, mention is made of Edmund Schulze's impaired health as a cause of delay.  Mention is also made of the Echo Oboe as being a flue stop of beautiful tone just invented by Edmund Schulze, and the swell box is about to be made.  At this stage the organ was evidently a three-manual instrument with Great, Swell and Echo divisions.

During the next six months progress appears to have been slow, partly because Kennedy had requested Schulze to add a peal of bells to the organ, which never materialised.  In a letter of 3rd December, 1867, Schulze agrees to the addition of a new Choir Organ as suggested by Kennedy and encloses the suggested specification.

By 18th January, 1868, the design of the hydraulic blowing plant is under consideration, using two of Joy's water engines, each operating two double feeders, the calculated output being 1,200 cubic feet of air per minute.  The mechanism, together with the main reservoir, is to be placed in an annex to the organ house, with central heating pipes to assist in maintaining constancy of temperature.  Evidently by 26th June, 1868, the organ house was under construction, since Schulze is concerned about the plastering of walls and ceiling and the necessity for completion of building operations before the organ is erected and finished.  Unfortunately, an error had been made regarding the dimensions of the organ chamber, the breadth of which was only 20 feet, whereas 24 feet had originally been stipulated.  This caused consternation at Paulinzelle and an urgent request was sent to Kennedy for an accurate drawing of the space available. This was received on 1st July and Edmund Schulze was occupied with alterations to the building frame of the organ in order to accommodate it to the new dimensions, without discarding too many of the already finished parts of the mechanism!

On 12th September, 1868, Kennedy was informed that the soundboards and bellows had been dispatched to Leeds, the transport being arranged by H. A. Kirsten of Hamburg and by Gee & Co. of Hull. The second load followed on 16th September and included the pneumatic machine.  A long delay followed, due to the incomplete state of the organ house at Meanwood, during which Schulze & Sons were occupied in building several instruments for German churches. By 7th May, 1869, the structure at Meanwood was complete and Kennedy invited Edmund Schulze to stay at Meanwood Towers during the erection and finishing of the organ.  On 20th July, 1869, Messrs. Schulze wrote to inform Kennedy that the last load of organ parts was about to be dispatched and that Edmund Schulze and his workers would set out for Leeds to commence erection of the organ.


How to find us

Wesley Road, Armley, Leeds, LS12 1SR 

To make a regular contribution to the Schulze Organ Maintenance Fund,
by Standing Order,


£20.00, payable on 15th March each year.
by Standing Order,

stbartsarmley@gmail.comm  (omit the final m)

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Organ History M. Collins