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Sir John Stainer was born in Southwark, London, on 6 June 1840. As a boy, he sang in the choir of St Paul's Cathedral and, at the age of 16 was appointed by Sir Frederick Ouseley to the post of organist at the newly founded St. Michael's College, Tenbury. In a childhood accident Stainer had lost the use of one eye; for a brief period in 1875 he lost that of the other too.

In 1860 he became organist at Magdalen College,…

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