Freemasons’ Hall

Location23A Coleman Street, Singapore 179806
BuilderJ.W. Walker
Year1970
Last surveyed2017
StatusPlayable
Last updated: 2 April 2021

As a dedication to the memory of members who died in the First and Second World Wars, the organ in the Main Temple of Freemasons’ Hall replaced an earlier instrument, built in 1925, by Walker and Taylor of Lincoln, England (which has since been relocated to the chapel of Orchard Road Presbyterian Church). The current organ is based on three ranks of pipes (Gedackt, Gemshorn and Dulciana) from which its 18 stops are derived. In 2015, the mechanical switching system was replaced with a solid state version by Harrison & Harrison of Durham, England, and the pneumatic swell shutter engine replaced with an electric Peterson swell shutter operator.

The organ has been further dedicated to the memory of W. Bro. Henry Augustus Forrer, 31st Degree, Past District Grand Senior Warden, Past Master of Lodge St. Michael, born 1886 and called to the Grand Lodge above on 23 March 1969. It was dedicated on 29 June 1971 by the Deputy District Grand Master of the Eastern Archipelago, W. Bro. Bernard Charles Jackson Buckeridge, 32nd Degree.


The Walker & Taylor instrument was moved to Orchard Road Presbyterian Church and placed not he north side of the chancel. It was later moved to the chapel, enlarged and rebuilt by Robert Navaratnam in 1986. At this time the second manual was added with action converted to an electro-mechnical system.

The gold-coloured pipes on the facade do not speak and are for decorative purposes. The functioning organ pipes are located behind this facade and total 255 in number and are arranged on the extension principle to provide 18 stops on two manuals and pedal. The mechanism is based on a simple electric system that was overhauled and upgraded with a new microprocessor-based coupling system with low voltage cabling throughout the organ.

The console, comprising two manuals (the Swell and the Great) and a pedalboard, is located separately in the northwest area of the Temple and are connected to the pipes and wind chest electrically.

In 2014 it became evident that the Walker organ was in need of repair and renovation and with the assistance of Adriel Yap, a Singaporean employed by Harrison & Harrison, an organ builder, a report was received and accepted by the District Grand Master of the Eastern Archipelago. The restoration work was subsequently completed in June 2015.

Technical Specifications – Freemasons’ Hall

Walker & Taylor Organ, 1925

Stoplist

Great

Diapason 8′
Flöte 8′
Gamba 8′
Celeste 8′
Principal 4′
Piccolo 2′
Tremolo

Couplers

Great to Pedal

Pedal

Bourdon 16′

J.W. Walker Organ, 1970

Stoplist

Swell
Gedackt 8′A
Dulciana 8′C (notes 1-12 from A)
Principal 4′B
Gedackt Flute 4′A
Nazard 2 2/3′A
Flautino 2′A
Larigot 1 1/3′A (breaks back at F# 55)
Great
Principal 8′B (notes 1-12 from 13-24 of A and 1-12 of C)
Gedackt 8′A
Gemshorn 4′B
Dulcet 4′C
Twelfth 2 2/3′C (notes 51-61 from A)
Fifteenth 2′B (notes 49-61 from A)
Pedal
Sub Bass 16′A
Bass Flute 8′A
Gemshorn 4′B
Octave Flute 4′A

Tremulant to whole organ
Great to Pedal
Melodic Bass (couples lowest note of the manuals to the Sub Bass 16′ on the pedal)

Actions

Notes 1-12 of A are electro-pneumatic
All other pipes on direct electric pallet magnets
16-stage swell shade engine
The organ is controlled by a MultiSystem from Solid State Organ Systems (SSOS)
Sham facade pipes

Photos: Suzanne Lau
Article: Adapted from notes by Ernest Lau, Adriel Yap and Ong Te-Min

Used with permission