Smith, Bernard

1630-1709

 

Famous German organ-builder, usually called Father Smith. He was born in Germany (the exact place is not known), and learned the business of organ-building from Christian Former. Went to England in 1660 from Wettin, near Halle, with his two nephews, Gerard and Bernard, and in the same year superintended the erection of the three-manuel organ in the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, London. He was appointed organ-builder in ordinary to the King, Charles II., and Court organ-builder to Queen Anne. According to most authorities Smith built the organ which was installed in Westminster Abbey in 1660, but Grove's Dictionary asserts that Christopher Shrider or Schreider, one of "Father" Smith's workmen, built the organ in question and that it was considered his masterpiece. The principal organs built by Smith and his nephews, who carried on the work begun by him, are those installed in St. Giles-in-the-Fields, in 1671; St. Margaret's, Westminster, in 1675; Durham Cathedral, in 1683; St. Paul's Cathedral, London, in 1694 to 1697; Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1708; Wells Cathedral; Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; Chester Cathedral, and others.