from St Anne's

Dr Harry Grindle’s Photo Archive presented to Belfast Cathedral

Belfast Cathedral - Dr Harry Grindle’s Photo Archive presented to Belfast Cathedral

On Tuesday 9th November, Mrs Heather Grindle was joined by former choir members Alan Boyd, Cyril King and Valerie Ireland to make a presentation of archive photographs to Belfast Cathedral from the collection of her late husband.

Dr Harry Grindle was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Belfast Cathedral from 1964 to 1975. He arrived at St Anne's as successor to the redoubtable Captain Brennan, but quickly established his own style and reputation as a highly regarded organist at the cathedral. Although only appointed to a part time position, Harry Grindle prepared not only the cathedral choir for the morning service and afternoon Choral Evensong, but he also conducted the "Evening Choir" who sang at the 7.00pm evening service. Under Dr Grindle's guidance the choristers of the choir often numbered 24 boys.

Across the years, Dr Grindle, frequently accompanied by Canon John Nolan and other choir parents, led the choir and choristers for summer residencies at many of the major cathedrals in England, including St Paul's and Westminster Abbey in London.

In 1975, having rehearsed and guided the cathedral choirs through some of the darkest years of the Troubles in Belfast, Harry Grindle was appointed to Stranmillis Training College. There he would apply his skill and dedication training generations of music teachers to inspire and lead music making in schools across Northern Ireland.

Since Harry's death in July 2013, it has been a labour of love for Alan Boyd and Cyril King, along with Valerie Ireland to assist Heather Grindle in sorting through the extensive collection of photographs which Harry had amassed through his years at St Anne's. The pandemic provided an unexpected opportunity to complete this time consuming project, as the choristers and choir members shown in each picture were meticulously identified and annotated.

The conclusion of this project was the presentation to Belfast Cathedral, not only of all the originalĀ  photographs, but also a beautifully created book of each photograph which Dean Stephen Forde received from HeatherĀ  Grindle. Also present was the current Director of Music, Mr Matthew Owens, who described the most recent developments with the Cathedral Choir and Children's Choir. On behalf of the cathedral Matthew Owens presented everyone with a copy of the cathedral choir's recently released Christmas CD "A Belfast Christmas".

The Dean concluded a fascinating morning by thanking Heather for the generosity of her gift, and hoped that she and the other former members of the cathedral choir, would continue their close association with the cathedral and its musical tradition for many years to come.