The Eboracum Lodge Organ

Eboracum was founded in 1876 and met regularly there until 1884 when it moved from the Queens Hotel in Micklegate to its present home in St. Saviourgate.

Built specifically for the Eboracum lodge temple, the organ has been an important and integral part of our meetings since the late 1880s.

The organ was constructed by the firm of William Denman & Son whose premises were at 56 Skeldergate, York (now demolished)

It appears from the lodge records that the organ was only partially complete in 1889, sadly the lodge records are not complete, so we do not know what the actual cost of the completed organ was.

Below are several extracts from the Lodge minutes pertaining to the organ and organist.

Cost for partial completion of the organ – 12th August 1889

Cost of the organ screen – 13th March 1893

£10 to complete the organ – 10th July 1896

The Organist to be exempt from annual Lodge fees – 14th September 1896

“Water power to blow the organ”

On the 18th March 1890, Bro.Thomas Whytehead proposed the following. This extract has been taken from the regular lodge minutes.

The following images show the type of water engine widely used for powering organs across many parts of the world in the late 1890s.

A short video showing a working organ powered by a water engine can be found on Google – “a water – powered organ”

This extract was taken from a BBC Scotland documentary first shown 2019 click here to view

Misuse of the organ – 23rd February 1919

Organ power failure – electric motor proposed – 14th July 1922

Replacing water power with electric power to be considered – 2nd September 1922

Estimates required for electric blowing to the organ – 13th April 1934

This entry is the final mention of the organ requiring electric blowing in the minutes. It must be assumed that soon after this date, the water engine was replaced.

Over 44 years had passed since Bro.Thomas Whytehead had first made the proposal for the organ to be blown by water.


In memory of Worshipful Brother John Warburton