Unfortunately, Gloucester’s famous organ is currently out of commission. A contract has been signed with organ specialists Nicholson & Co. Ltd to refurbish and renew the instrument in time for the 2026 Three Choirs Festival. You can read more about this project by clicking on the button below.
We have launched the In Tune campaign, which aims to raise £3 million by 2026. This will fund the refurbishment and renewal of the Cathedral’s famous organ, as well as revitalising the musical education that is offered to hundreds of musicians of all ages. You can find out more, including how to donate to the campaign, via the button below.
One of the most significant cathedral organs in the world
Gloucester Cathedral’s famous organ was originally constructed in 1666 by Thomas Harris, is the only complete 17th century cathedral organ case surviving in this country.
Over the next three centuries the organ was extended and modified by nearly all of the established organ builders, notably ‘Father’ Henry Willis. The then young Henry Willis described his work on the organ in 1847 as “my stepping stone to fame”, and he returned to rebuild the organ in 1888-9. Harrison & Harrison rebuilt it again in 1920, and this organ served the Cathedral for fifty years.
In 1971 Hill, Norman and Beard carried out a total redesign of the organ, under the instruction of Dr. John Sanders as Cathedral Organist and Ralph Downes as consultant. In 1999 Nicholson & Co. Ltd overhauled the organ, renovating the soundboards, pipework and wind supply and updating the computer system.
Whilst the organ is out of commission, we are using an electronic instrument which was kindly gifted to us by a generous supporter. This is a temporary solution, and Nicholson & Co Ltd will be working to refurbish and renew the Gloucester organ in time for the 2026 Three Choirs Festival.