The Historic Organ of All Hallows’ Gospel Oak

William Hill & Son, Job 2449

The Organ

Arthur George Hill (1857–1923)

The son of Thomas Hill, Arthur was educated at Westminster School and Jesus College, Cambridge. He trained as an architect and worked in the office of George Gilbert Scott (whose son, Giles Gilbert Scott was responsible for the completion of All Hallows’ chancel). He was a skilled designer of organ cases (Chichester 1888, Sydney Town Hall 1890, Peterborough 1904) and published The Organ Cases and Organs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance amongst other works. He took over the directorship of the firm in 1893. Hill & Son continued to execute presigious contracts and was known for impeccable tonal finish and mechanical refinement although their style fell more into line with other builders of the time. Representative of the firm’s output during this period are:

  • 1897: Bangor Cathedral
  • 1898: Middlesbrough Town Hall
  • 1902: Eton College
  • 1908: Lichfield Cathedral
  • 1909: Chester Cathedral
  • 1915: All Hallows, Gospel Oak
  • 1916: Beverley Minster (rebuild)

In 1916 Arthur Hill agreed to a merger with Norman & Beard Ltd. of Norwich to form Wm Hill & Son and Norman & Beard Ltd. The onset of the Great War had caused difficulties for both firms but particularly for Norman & Beard, whose workforce were mostly of Service age. Arthur Hill continued as a Director of the new firm where, curiously, the two teams worked quite separately from each other for some years, both based in Hill’s Double-Cube building in London. John Christie acquired the firm on Arthur Hill’s death in 1923 at which time the style of its work changed significantly. Hill Norman & Beard, as the firm became, finally ceased trading in 1998.