Elston All Saints


The organ is an interesting instrument, built by the firm Bishop & Starr in 1872, and displaying the ingenuity of a first rate London builder to the problems posed by a difficult site. Bracketed off the chancel wall, it certainly owes something to its rather larger (no longer extant) cousin built the previous year, in 1871, for the Civic Church of Nottingham, St Mary’s. The constraints which the site at Elston poses are considerable and it is a miracle that the builder managed to get an organ in at all – this has resulted in an instrument with a most unusual and unique layout. The builders were so proud of the layout of this organ that it was exhibited at the International Exhibition of 1872 in London before being installed in the church. It cost £151 1s., installed.

The partnership of Bishop and Starr was short-lived. The organ builder James Chapman Bishop (1783-1854) founded his own firm in 1807, having been apprenticed to Benjamin Flight (who later went into partnership to form the firm of Flight & Robson). J C Bishop’s son, Charles Augustus (b. 1821) was taken into partnership in 1848. Following his father’s death in 1854, he went into partnership with John Starr. The partnership was further augmented in 1857, when William Ebenezer Richardson, a long standing employee was taken into the fold. This arrangement was however to prove short-lived as he retired in 1861. The firm of Bishop & Starr traded until 1873. Charles’s son, Charles Kenwrick (b. 1850) was taken into partnership and the firm once more became Bishop & Son. The firm was purchased by Edward Suggate in 1880, but continued to trade with the same title until 1950.

In 1965 the organ was restored to the memory of Philip and Anne Gilbert who were killed in a road traffic accident. Mr Gilbert was the church organist.