Abbott & Smith
- Michael Sayer
English firm of organ builders. It was established in Leeds in 1869 by Isaac Abbott, who had worked for 20 years with William Hill in London. William Stanwix Smith, also a former Hill employee, was the firm’s manager until Abbott retired, in 1889; thereafter Smith and Abbott’s son continued the firm, which subsequently passed to Smith’s sons and grandson. In 1964 the firm was sold to its foreman, J.H. Horsfall, and in 1975 it moved to the premises of Wood Wordsworth & Co. Up to 1964, Abbott & Smith built or rebuilt hundreds of organs throughout Britain, including some 250 in Yorkshire, and more than 60 around Leeds. James Jepson Binns was head voicer from 1875 until 1880. Their earlier instruments, using mechanical action through the 1880s, have a robust singing quality suited to Yorkshire Methodist congregations, though several were in town halls, including those in Leeds and Ryde. Their organ for St Mark’s, Manningham, had four manuals and 48 speaking stops. The firm also built organs in St Albans Cathedral (1907), Durban Cathedral, and a concert hall in Tokyo; other instruments were destined for Africa and the West Indies. An excellent example designed by C.V. Stanford survives in the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge.
See also Binns, James Jepson; Wordsworth & Maskell .
- D.M. Baker: ‘Towards a History of Abbott & Smith, Organ Builders of Leeds’, The Organ, 56/224 (1977–8), 158–69
- D.M. Baker: ‘Abbott & Smith Organ-builders of Leeds’, BIOS Reporter, 21/3 (July 1997)