Pipe Organs of Malaysia
St MARY's ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL
Henry Willis & Son
The Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin, Kuala Lumpur, is an Anglican church consecrated in February 1895. It was designed by A.C. Norman, who is also credited with the design of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building nearby. St Mary was constructed in early English gothic architectural style. This is apparent in the buttresses on the outside of the building.
St Mary's Cathedral is the oldest church in Kuala Lumpur. The church houses a fine, rare pipe organ built by renowned 19th century British organ-builder, Henry Willis. The organ cost £300.00.00. Willis constructed a similar organ for Christ Church, Bangkok, in 1904.The original building can accommodate 200 worshippers at one time. The nave has an open-timbered roof constructed of merbau and seriah wood. The apex is 13 meters (39 ft) above the floor. The chancel is paved with tessellated tiles and lit by stained glass windows on the octogonal end. During World War II, when bombs were being dropped all over Kuala Lumpur, the caretakers of the church removed the windows to protect them. However, they could not be found after the war, and had to be replaced.
An extension was carried out in 1958 with the construction of the Jubilee Hall at the rear of the church.
St Mary's organ was extensively rebuilt by Riddell in the 1950s - probably more Riddell than Willis by now! He had also worked on it twice in the 1920s carrying out extensive repairs after 2 successive flood inundations. Riddell designed the new organ loft to save the organ from another flood. The wooden pipes, wind chest, pedal board, some keys and part of the frame were completely tropicalised by Riddell who replaced them over 25 years.
Another renovation in 1968 added a double-storey annex. In 1983, St Mary was elevated to the status of cathedral.
Information has been made available throught the kind resources of Chris Kearl, who is the BIOS Archivist at the British Organ Archive, Birmingham, UK. He advises the following detail:
1898. Willis. Ledger 01. p.453. (order ex T C Bates)
F Duberly. New organ. £300. plus additions:- Gemshorn £15; Cornopean £25; comp pedal £7; sundries. Total : £381/12s/8d.
Specification unknown. Shipped via Penninsular and Oriental. 1898.
Specification of the organ is:
Further information provided by Andrew Hwang, Kuala Lumpur, 20 March 2012.
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