Though historically part of Lancashire, Leigh is situated far south of Lancaster between Manchester and Wigan, and is today part of greater Manchester. Organ Street (number 52 in Rude UK) in Leigh was the final destination of the day’s tour, but before going there, Laetitia wanted to take her group to several museums in Manchester that she missed when they toured there before.
The day’s itinerary included the Manchester Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and, finally, Ordsall Hall, the stately house that was home to the Radclyffe family from 1335 until 1662. There is a local legend that Guy Fawkes hid in the house and escaped from pursuing soldiers through a tunnel after the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, but the story has never been verified. There are claims that a lady in white haunts the house, and the museum features overnight ghost watches for interested participants.
Late in the afternoon, the Mind’s Eye group arrived at Leigh, pausing on the way to their destination to browse the windows of a Scottish butcher shop that featured haggis and a musical instrument store with an array of accordions. On Organ Street, a lady pruning her roses told Laetitia that the street was named for nearby Organ Hill, and that the hill’s name had something to do with raising money to pay the organist at St. Mary’s Church. She mentioned that there was a free organ recital at the church that afternoon featuring the music of Bach.
There was a bit of time to kill before the concert started, so Laetitia took her group to some nearby shops to browse before going to the church. Nearby were a bunch of college students also waiting to go to the concert. One of them made a joke about Bach’s 20 children and how “Bach’s organ lacked stops.” In the concert, Laetitia’s mind began to drift as she gazed at the towering array of brass organ pipes during Toccata and Fugue, and by the time the organist played Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the piece she had heard at so many weddings, her musings were distilled into the required limerick of the day.
When folks come upon Organ Street
Some likely will think organ meat
The kind made from offal
That some think gawd-awful
And others view as a fine treat.
But some, though not all, I’m afraid
Think an organ’s not eaten, but played.
‘Tis said that in Louth
Some play organs by mouth
Or by hand—even folks who are staid.
As when Alistair says to Veronica,
“I would like you to blow my harmonica”
Or when Steve says to Rox,
“May I squeeze your squeeze box?”
In the greenhouse among the Japonica.
There are organs that can be gigantic
And are used on occasions romantic
And folks of high class
Even play during mass
As Bach played, though to some, he’s pedantic.
Most others think Bach is terrific
And he certainly was most prolific
As was said in the shops,
“Bach’s organ lacked stops”
But, to get to the issue specific.
In Leigh you will find Organ Hill
The kind climbed by Jack and by Jill
And the street there is named
For the hill, it is claimed
This should my requirement fulfill.