St. Bartholomew's, Armley

The Schulze Organ Story



The arrangement of the stop knobs on the 1905 console, presumably as selected by T. Cawthra and as executed by J. J. Binns, did not altogether follow the traditional pattern in the sequence of the speaking stops, whilst the placing of the groups of stops was at variance with the normal practice today. The Pedal Organ stops were placed on the right-hand jamb, as was customary at the time since they were operated together with the Great Organ stops by the combination action.  It is now generally agreed that the Pedal Organ stops should be on the left-hand side, as now placed.

In the following specification and analysis of the pipes of the organ, the stops of each department are listed as grouped in the traditional manner used by Schulze, commencing with the 16ft. rank in each manual department.  The arrangement of the manual stops as planted on the wind chests is shown separately. In the case of the Swell and Echo Organs, the sequence of the ranks of pipes corresponds exactly with that of the original stop knobs (see end of Page 4), and in the case of the Echo Organ with the sequence on the Binns console.  The sequence of stops on the Choir Organ windchest is however reversed, with the bulky pipes of the Lieblich Bordun at the front and the Clarinette at the back, although the pipes are arranged semitonally as in the adjacent Echo Organ.  This may have arisen owing to the fact that the Choir Organ was a late addition to the instrument when space was restricted.

N.B. the suffix “b” indicates that the lower octaves are of wood.


The Open Metal 16ft. of the Pedal Organ is mounted in the organ case and wind is conveyanced from a separate soundboard behind the main front provided by Binns in 1905 on 4 inches wind.

The remaining Pedal Organ stops are divided and arranged along the east and west walls of the North Transept:

East side: — from the wall towards the centre (31/2 inches wind):
Sub Bass 32ft. -23 pipes from GGGGsharp to FF and one non-speaking end pipe next to the FF pipe.

NOTE: The dumb pipe is probably the original FF pipe, mislaid by
workmen in 1879 but subsequently ‘found’ and retained in the Organ.
At the Binns 1905 rebuild this pipe was presumably placed in its
present position, thus displacing the series and making it necessary to
mount the new CCCC pipe on a separate small chest on the west side of the Transept. (31/2 inches wind): Octave 4ft; Violoncello 8ft; Quinte 10%ft; Violon 16ft; Sub Bass 16ft;
Floten Bass 8ft.

West side:from the wall towards the centre

(4 inches wind): Sub Bass 32ft. — 7 pipes from CCCCsharp to GGGG on one soundboard and CCCC pipe [Binns 1905] on a small individual chest; Principal Bass 16ft; Octave 8ft; Posaune 16ft; Trompete 8ft.

The Materials used by Schulze in the Organ

Examination of metal pipes by various organ-builders has yielded interesting results both as regards the tone produced and the durability of the alloy used. Analyses published in 1909 by Major George Dixon showed that the proportion of tin used by the seventeenth and eighteenth century century organ builders in England ranged from 10.3 to 100 per cent! Schulze used 56 per cent. tin with 44 per cent. lead in the resonators of a reed stop (probably the Posaune 16ft.) now at Armley, and the same firm used 49 per cent. tin with 51 per cent. lead in the Piccolo 4ft. stop of the smaller instrument built for St. Peter's Church, Harrogate, as described previously. These proportions are very similar to those used by two other famous organ builders of the nineteenth century - Henry Willis I used 50 per cent. tin for the Clarion at Durham Cathedral in 1877 and Thomas C. Lewis used 47 per cent. tin for a Diapason at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Cathedral in 1890. Boner and Newman, the physicists, found that of the materials they tested, a fifty-fifty alloy of tin and lead gave the best reinforcement of the first seven harmonics of a note, these being essential for good diapason tone, whilst wood came second best. The Schulze pipes at Armley have withstood tuning and cleaning operations well for over a century, including cone tuning for the first 50 years until tuning slides were fitted in 1921.

J. F. Schulze & Sons did not always make their own pipes. The Rev. J. H. Burn describes the building of the great Schulze organ at Doncaster Parish Church thus:

In the case of the Meanwood organ, Messrs. Schulze wrote to Kennedy on 12th September, 1868:

‘The second load will follow next week – mechanism, swell box, etc.- and soon after that the pipes in a third load. (author’s italics)

When, however, the two additional Pedal stops were ordered for the organ at Armley, it is possible that the facilities in the "rustic building with a small water-wheel, little more than a roomy carpenter's shop" were inadequate for the production of a 16ft. Open Metal speaking front and that these zinc pipes were made elsewhere in Germany, or even in England, to Schulze's specification.

The high proportion of wooden pipes at Armley (24.2 per cent. if the reed stops are excluded) is partly accounted for by the marked preference shown by Schulze for wood as the best material for the bass octave of many otherwise metal stops, including the 8ft. Principals, and for two bass octaves of the Great Sub Principal 16ft., which he explained in a letter of 6th October, 1866, to Kennedy. In this choice, Schulze may also have been influenced by the more ready availability of timber in the "green heart" of Germany, although the covering of certain wooden pipes with blue paper, as though to conceal knots, and the appearance of the larger pipes of the Sub Bass 32ft. stop, make it difficult to believe that straight-grained timber was in abundance! Indeed the workmanship of the wooden pipes appears crude in many cases when compared with that of Schulze's contemporaries in England, as may be seen in the illustrations of the pipe mouths -

1. Left.
Feet and mouths of the top C, D and E pipes of the Pedal Organ Flõten Bass.

Note the wedges at
the left sides of the mouths.

2. Left.
Mouth of middle
C pipe of Choir
(Cello and

3. Left.
Mouth of middle C
pipe of Pedal Organ

Mouth of middle C pipe
of Echo Organ (Oboe)

Wooden screws and
nuts used by Schulze to operate the tuning
stoppers of the bass
pipes Choir Organ
(Lieblich Bordum)

On the other hand the treatment of the mouths of pipes of the Echo Oboe (4 above) must have been a most delicate and tedious operation. Some of the Bordun pipes show evidence of the Schulze ingenuity in being fitted with wooden screws and nuts for adjustment of the tuning stoppers, (see 5 above).

It is known from Allbutt's reminiscences that Edmund Schulze insisted on the use of well-seasoned timber throughout his instruments, including the frames carrying the water engines and feeders, for which he suggested ten year-old oak, since "raw wood anywhere affects the tone."  Wooden screws were also used by Schulze to retain the faceboards of the windchests, some of which are still in use. It is certain that the well-built and spacious slider soundboards play a major part in the production of the beautiful tone of the Principal chorus, as has been shown by the work of Bonavia-Hunt in his attempts to reproduce the Schulze tone elsewhere, and it is most fortunate that these have been preserved at Armley.


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