Church pipe organ in Wanstead house faces its last Amen

You would never know it from the outside, but a house in Hereford Road has a full church organ in its front room, built lovingly by its owner who was for years a church organist in Wanstead.

Gordon Forster started building the organ in the late 70s, finished it in the 80s, and continued playing it until his death 10 years ago. His widow, Diana, is now downsizing which means the organ needs to find a new home.

Gordon’s son Joe, who grew up with his father making all sorts of musical instruments, is not optimistic that a new home will be found for the organ and suspects the best that can happen is the organ will be broken up and used for parts.

Gordon Forster pictured in 1980

Gordon was a radiographer by training who spent 60 years playing church organs. For many years he was the organist at the Congregational church – now the United Reformed Church – on Nightingale Lane and also played in other churches in the area.

The house on Hereford Rd. (Pic Peter Andrews.)

He built the organ after collecting parts from numerous dismantled organs in the area. Joe says: “Maybe there’s somebody around now who’s looking to do the same. It might be broken up for parts.”

Asked how his mother put up with his father taking over the front room, he says: “I don’t think you could have stopped him. He was very energetic. If he decided to do something – whoosh! – he’d be off. There was no stopping him.” He added: “She had her own interests too.”

The organ has 8ft pipes, pedals, a separate console (the keyboard), and a blower which Gordon built into the cellar.

In this video it is being played by Gordon’s friend, organist Eric Doig.

  • Joe would welcome contact from anyone wanting the organ – please get in touch via The house on Hereford Road is being sold through agents Peter Andrews – details can be seen here.
  • Thanks to Paul Lejeune for the tip.

3 thoughts on “Church pipe organ in Wanstead house faces its last Amen”

  1. What a wonderful tone. Such a shame for it to be destroyed after so many years of love and dedication taken to build it. Perhaps the council could fund for it to be relocated to…Wanstead House?…The Corner House? Anywhere else locally where it could be enjoyed by a wider audience?

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