Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral's Grand Organ

31 January 2023

By Terence Duffy, Organist 1963-93 & Director of Music 2004-07 

The Grand Organ of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral was installed in 1967 in time for the opening of the cathedral in that year.  Along with being one of the UK’s most important examples of mid-20th century English organ building, the organ plays an integral role in Cathedral life and worship.  It was built by the English organ builders, J W Walker and Sons and its distinctive façade was designed by the Cathedral architect, Sir Frederick Gibberd,  

After more than 50 years in daily use a major refurbishment was vital and planning for this began in 2015 when the Organ Consultant, Dr John Rowntree, produced an initial report.  The contract was awarded to Harrisons & Harrison, Organ Builders based in Durham.  They began work in January 2021 and were slowed down by the discovery of asbestos in the organ chamber.  The organ was completed in December 2022.  

The project involved the removal, cleaning and restoring of each of its 4565 pipes as well modifying the location of parts of the organ.  The failing winding system was replaced with traditional reservoirs and new digital electronic technology installed in the place of its ageing electro-pneumatics.  This has unlocked the hidden potential previously unafforded to Walkers because of the restrictions of the original layout.  The console now has doors to close it up instead of a roll top and two small CCTV monitors 

The organ will be formally opened in the Spring of 2023 after allowing the organ a settling in period whilst it adjusts to temperatures and humidity.



Hear which way the wind's blowing

Cathedral music news from the UK and overseas.

View all articles

Recent news