Newtown Heritage week

This is a spin-off from the Wellington Heritage Week from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th October.

There is one official Heritage Week event in Newtown – Newtown on Film at the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre, on October 23rd, screening 2 -3pm and again at 6-7pm. Tickets $5. See more here.

There are other unofficial events, in particular a real treat –
St Thomas’ Chapel in Newtown is celebrating the 120th anniversary of its vintage pipe organ. You will be able to enjoy the sound of the historic Hobday organ at St Thomas’ Chapel in a series of half-hour lunchtime recitals at 12:30pm each day on Tue 23rd, Wed 24th, and Thu 26th October, followed by an hour-long recital at 2pm on Saturday 27th, and then in the 9am worship service on Sunday 28th.

The oldest components of the organ were built in 1898 by the celebrated organ builder Arthur Hobday, who had set up business in Wellington in 1896 following a career in Australia, and who lived in Lawrence Street in Newtown until his death in 1912. Hobday built organs in many church buildings throughout New Zealand in the later years of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries.

The St Thomas’ parish history notes that in March 1898, ‘Mr. Hobday was commissioned to build a Pipe Organ to the value of £230 … First appointee [as organist] for the new organ was Mr. F.W. Rowley who took office on 9th January 1899 at a salary of £30 per annum, with Mr. Astridge as organ-blower at 2/- per week.’ Over the years further stops were added to increase the organ’s size and capability. In 1970 the original wooden St Thomas’ Church was fire-damaged beyond repair and demolished the following year. The organ was removed and put in storage until the completion of the current St Thomas’ Chapel in 1982, when half of the organ components were installed in St Thomas’ with a new manual (organ keyboard).

The remaining organ pipes were installed as a new instrument in the former St Cuthbert’s Church in Berhampore. Following the August 2013 earthquake and prior to the subsequent deconsecration and demolition of St Cuthbert’s in 2015, the organ there was gifted to the Wellington Museum, where it is hoped it will eventually be displayed as a working exhibit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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