The organ at Holy Ascension was built by JJ Binns in 1913. JJ Binns produced many fine organs, but it is rate today to come across an instrument of this size which is still in its original condition, with the exception of minor repairs. Binns was one of the most successful and prolific organ builders in Yorkshire. Their best work was produced between the 1890s and the first World War, at which time they were producing over 30 organs a year.
Binns organs are characterised as being almost battleship in design: very strong, very heavy, sturdy - for this reason JJ Bins himself earned the nickname of ‘battleship Binns’. Binns was influenced by many other organ builders of his day. There are particular similarities with Brindley, Foster, and Schulze, who were all highly regarded at that time. Schulze was a fine worker and his diapasons (an organ stop sounding a main register of flue pipes) and flutes ( the most prevalent type of pipes in organs) bear a close similarly to those built by Binns. Many of Binns’s organs survive in the churches of Britain. The greatest of these is the four-manual, 53-stop instrument at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury. That was built in 1912, one year before the organ for Holy Ascension, Settle .
Our organ has given excellent service for a little over 100 years now, and will continue to do so for a further 100 years if we succeed in having it restored. Organs such as this can never be replaced and have always been part of the community in worship. It is, therefore, very important to preserve our heritage for the future. To see and feel what we mean, come along to one of our services and sing along with the Binns.
With thanks to Peter Wood & Son, IBO, Harrogate, December 2017