Trip to Whitstable, May 2023

After a quick change of plan, wished on us by the train strike, John Webber and Alan Langridge saved the day by driving five of us to Whitstable on Saturday 13th May for a visit to three quite differing churches, kindly organised by Michael Cooke.

Whitstable is a charming little town on the north Kent coast – though most of us didn’t get to see the sea this time!

The five of us met at All Saints, where Mike is the organist, and were joined by Patti and Ron, a couple from Faversham.  Patti is from the Kent County Organists Association and plays at both Wingham and Faversham.  All Saints is an attractive old ragstone church, mainly rebuilt in the 1870’s and standing in a large graveyard.  It has a 1900 2-man Lewis with detached console.  Mike gave us a demonstration and then we all had a go.  It was conveniently situated opposite the Monument pub where we all then had a very good lunch.

Then a short car ride to St Peters.  A redbrick Victorian church mercifully converted from corrugated iron around 1900 !  It has a 1902 2-man Speechly organ, originally from the Bethlem (Bedlam) Hospital in London.  Straight pedal board, ratchet swell pedal, tracker action, with a good sound and easy to play.

The last church was St Alphege.  An 1840 stone built church, wide and airy inside, where they gave us a welcome coffee and biscuits !  The organ is an 1862/1960 2-man Walker with a good range of stops and nice to play.

During the day we heard everything from Bach, through Guilmant to Lemmens.

The visit was much enjoyed by all, we defied the RMT, and a huge “Thank you” to Mike for arranging the whole thing and keeping us on time in a relaxed way !

Sarah Best