THIRTY-five members of the Brighouse Probus Club attending the July meeting were entertained by Diana Priestley of Huddersfield, with her talk entitled ‘Master of the Music’.
Diana, when researching her family history, discovered that her father’s great grandfather was Sir Walter Parratt, who had been born in Huddersfield in 1841 and died in 1924 in Windsor Castle, where his ashes are buried in St George’s Chapel.
The son of the Huddersfield Parish Church organist Thomas Parratt, Walter was a child prodigy playing the pipe organ and became the organist at St Paul’s Church, Armitage Bridge at the age of 11.
Later further appointments followed which took him to London, St Peter’s, Eaton Square and St. Sepulchre, Holborn, but life in the city did not suit him and so in 1854 he returned to Huddersfield to the Parish Church where he stayed for 7 years. After this, his career took him to Great Whitley House, being the organist for the Earl of Dudley until1868, and after to Wigan Parish Church for the following 4 years.
In 1872 he took over from John Stainer as organist at Magdalen College Oxford where he stayed for 10 years, during which time he married Emma, who was from his home town and the first of their five children was born.
At this time he composed music including 2 hymn tunes.
He was called upon in 1880 to advice on the purchase and installation of the Father Willis organ in the Huddersfield Town Hall, which was under construction at the time.
He was a teacher at the Royal College of Music and president of the Royal College of Organist and among his many honours was the KCVO awarded in 1902.
The next meeting of the Probus club is on Wednesday, August 8, when the subject is Miscellaneous Films by John Orrell. It takes place at Hove Edge Bowling Club at 10.30am.