The College Chapel touches the lives of all pupils, parents, staff and Old Cheltonians and at the heart of this lies the College organ. The organ was built by Harrison and Harrison in 1933 when an earlier instrument by Norman and Beard was reconstructed. This organ was overhauled in 1976, again by Harrison and Harrison, when various plans were set in motion to revise and enhance the tonal scheme. Some further alterations were made in 2000, after a lightning strike on the Chapel damaged the instrument, and along with the addition of the Double Ophicleide 32ft stop in 2013, combine to form a notably successful instrument suited to taking a central role in Chapel music, as well being a highly effective and rewarding recital instrument.
Harrison and Harrison are currently undertaking the most significant restoration of the organ since the 1970s. The organ will retain all of its valuable historical features and, like its larger cousin at King’s College, Cambridge (also newly and successfully restored), will certainly remain one of the finest examples of British organ building of the period. We also now have the opportunity to take advantage of new materials and technology in updating the organ console where the player sits. The instrument’s highly effective tonal scheme will remain as we know it, we will, however, take this opportunity to revise those stops on the Swell that were less effectively modernised during the 1976 rebuild and which are at musical odds with the instrument; they will be reworked and expertly revoiced to suit the 2017 scheme.
- February: the soundboards, complete console, wind system and pipework removed from organ case for reworking and releathering. The remaining pipework stored on site where it will be cleaned and repaired.
- March/April: pipework cleaning and repair on site.
- July/August: reinstatement of restored wind system, soundboards, newly updated console and pipework over the summer holiday.
- September: tonal regulation and voicing.
- October: organ ready for use.
If you would like to get involved or want to find out more about our work, please contact Christiane Dickens, Development Director on 01242 706815 or at email@example.com.