Wiltshire

Salisbury Cathedral organ removed for major restoration

Restorers removing organ pipes Image copyright Ash Mills
Image caption The removal of the organ will be carried out over three weeks

Work has begun to remove the 19th Century pipe organ in Salisbury Cathedral for it to be restored.

The removal of the Father Willis organ will be carried out over three weeks and the cleaning process is expected to take 14 months.

The organ consists of 4,000 pipes, with some standing 32ft (10m) high.

The last time such a comprehensive restoration was undertaken was in 1969. This time the work is expected to cost about £700,000.

Image copyright Ash Mills
Image caption The cathedral's John Challenger said after being restored, the organ would "sound all the brighter"

John Challenger, the cathedral's assistant director of music, said: "When the 'Father Willis' returns, clear of the accumulated dust and grime of half a century, it will sound all the brighter and hopefully be good for another 50 years."

The restoration work is being carried out by Harrison and Harrison, organ builders and restorers from Durham who have cared for the organ since 1978.

The organ's creator, Henry Willis, built several other famous organs, including those found in the Albert Hall and St Paul's Cathedral.

Image copyright Ash Mills
Image caption The restoration work is being carried out by Harrison and Harrison, who have cared for the organ since 1978

Ian Bruce, from Harrison and Harrison, said: "We work on a lot of his organs but this one is really top of the tree musically and very well respected."

Next month the cathedral will be launching an interactive exhibition entitled Pulling out the Stops that will explore the history of the organ and the organ's construction, as well as taking visitors through the restoration process being carried out.

Image copyright Ash Mills
Image caption The organ consists of about 4,000 pipes, with some standing 32ft (10m) high

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