Photo: Matthew Binns
Anyone want to buy a pipe-organ? There’s one at the southern tip of the Isle of Man that needs a good home.
The Port Erin Methodist Church in the Isle of Man is about to move into smaller premises. The congregation no longer wishes to support the maintenance costs of the dignified stone-built 1903 building and is moving into the smaller 1960s Sunday School building next door.
This decision is a matter of refocusing rather than retrenchment.
Not for the first time, the church members want to direct their resources towards helping the local community rather than paying to keep up an old building that is ill-suited to present-day needs. It’s the fourth time in their long history that they’ve abandoned one building for another.
This is the oldest Christian congregation in Port Erin, dating back to 1823.
A chapel was built on Dandy Hill in 1832 and replaced in the late 1850s by a 200-seat chapel that survived as a Sunday School until 1963 and was demolished three years later.
The present 1903 chapel on Station Road was designed by the Halifax architect William Clement Williams (1847-1913), who was resident in Port Erin at the time of his death.
The organ, one of the last to be built by the Douglas organ-builder Moses Morgan, dates from 1911, and originally belonged to the Port Erin Wesleyan Methodist Church that is now the Erin Arts Centre. When the former Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist congregations amalgamated in 1970 the Wesleyans brought their organ with them to Station Road.
It’s described as “an excellent example of a straightforward chapel organ of modest size” with very few modifications to its authentic specification.
Apart from a few judicious improvements to the pipework little has changed, though the gas lights were replaced with electric lights as recently as 2008.
Organ aficionados on the island hope it will remain intact and find a new home. The Methodists pray that it will continue to be used for worship.
In this video the Manx organist Gareth Moore introduces the chapel and demonstrates the organ’s capabilities: Port Erin Pipe Organ – YouTube.
Particulars of the building sale are at Port Erin Methodist Chapel – Black Grace Cowley.