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Lewis & Co

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lewis and Company was a firm of organ builders founded by Thomas Christopher Lewis (1833–1915), one of the leading organ builders of late 19th-century Britain.[1]

Lewis Organ in St Paul's Melbourne
Lewis Organ in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Born in London in 1833, the son of Thomas Archdeacon Lewis (1780–1862), a secretary to Charles Blomfield, Bishop of London. Although trained as an architect, Lewis founded a firm of organ builders with John Tunstall and John Whitacker in about 1860. In 1866, the firm moved into premises in Shepherds Lane (now Ferndale Road), Brixton. Under Lewis's direction, the firm built instruments ranging from small chamber organs to major cathedral and concert organs. Lewis was strongly inspired by the organs built in Germany by Edmund Schulze and in France by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. He was renowned for instruments that had a bright, vibrant tone.[2] Lewis left the firm before 1900, but it continued to maintain the standards set by its founder. In 1919, there was a merger with Henry Willis & Sons who moved into the Brixton works and traded as Henry Willis and Son and Lewis and Company Ltd until 1925 when the Lewis name was dropped. T. C. Lewis continued to build organs for some time after leaving the firm that he had founded.[3]

Pre-1886 Lewis & Co had a well respected foreman, George Henry Adams (1843–1932), working for them, who worked on many of the Lewis organs, called. He had previously worked for around 20 years with J. W. Walker. A man called Thynne was dismissed (most likely) from Lewis's in 1881 and when he and Michell set up their short-lived company they managed to persuade a good number of Lewis staff, including his foreman, George Adams to defect to them. In 1886 George Adams established Adams & Marshall and by 1888 he was head of his own company, Adams & Son, which also worked out of Brixton. One surviving Adams & Son organ can be found in East Farleigh Church, in Kent. The instrument has a preservation order on it.[4]

Notable Lewis organs[edit]


  1. ^ "T C Lewis". Ohta.org.au. 7 January 1915. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Southwark Cathedral". Organrecitals.com. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  3. ^ The Organ: An Encyclopedia, Douglas E Bush & Richard Kassel, Routledge 2006 page 302
  4. ^ Avertising pamphlet which is located in Kent archives and a copy held by a direct descendant gives details of his having worked with Lewis  The National Pipe Organ Register
  5. ^ [1] Archived 19 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "The Lewis Organ". Myweb.tiscali.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  8. ^ "St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne". Ohta.org.au. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Music and Choirs - Worship - Southwark Cathedral". Cathedral.southwark.anglican.org. Archived from the original on 1 October 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Glasgow Museums" (PDF). Glasgow Museums. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  11. ^ [3] Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Westminster Cathedral". Organrecitals.com. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Organ". Maidstoneallsaints.freeserve.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  14. ^ "ST GEORGE'S CHURCH CULLERCOATS, TYNE & WEAR" (PDF). www.harrisonorgans.com. Harrison & Harrison Ltd. Retrieved 1 April 2020.