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The once-a-century refurbishment

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York Minster’s Grand Organ is currently undergoing a major, £2m refurbishment, the first on this scale since 1903.

The instrument, which dates back to the early 1830s, was removed in October 2018 – including nearly all of its 5,403 pipes – and taken to Durham for repair and refurbishment by organ specialists Harrison and Harrison.

The organ plays a key part in the cathedral’s services, providing the heartbeat at the centre of daily worship within the church, and this once-in-a-century refurbishment will ensure it continues to allow world-class music to be performed at the cathedral for the next 100 years.

The plans also include creating a new music library underneath the organ, inside the screen which separates the Quire from the Nave.

The project will take almost two years to complete, with the restored instrument due to be ready for use in late 2020. You can follow the project on social media using #ORGAN100.

How you can help

York Minster relies on your generous support to help fund our conservation and restoration work. If you would like to support the project you can:


September 2019

Own a piece of history

In June the 102 decorative case pipes which date from the early 1830s were returned to the Minster. Around 70 of the pipes are being repaired and will be brought back into use for the first time in more than 100 years when the instrument is returned in 2020.

Unfortunately, around 30 of the pipes were beyond repair and will be replaced, with the originals auctioned to help raise funds for the refurbishment project. The auction is now open and will run until 12noon on Friday 27 September.


Bid now

March 2019

On site at Harrison and Harrison

Nearly all of the 5,403 pipes have now taken over the Harrison and Harrison workshop in Durham. We had an exclusive look behind-the-scenes to see the many intricate developments taking place to refurbish the Grand Organ.

This includes work to repair around 70 of the pipes which will be brought back into use – for the first time in over a century – when the organ is returned in 2020.

Take a look at video to and witness the on-going work.


February 2019

Final specification of the new Grand Organ announced

Harrison & Harrison announce the final specification of the restored organ. Click below for more details.

Photo: Martin Doering

Full specification here

November 2018

Grand piano arrives from China

After a journey of more than 20,000km, a brand new concert grand piano arrives at the cathedral from China. The piano, which is a Wilh Steinberg 275, has been loaned to the cathedral by Besbrode Pianos of Leeds for the next two years while the Grand Organ undergoes refurbishment.

The Wilh Steinberg piano brand is today owned by Parsons Music Ltd, one of the world’s leading musical instrument companies with factories in Germany and China. The Minster’s piano is one of 16,000 produced each year at the company’s Chinese factory in the city of Yichang.


October 2018

Pulling out all the stops

Over three weeks, a team of eight people from organ specialists Harrison and Harrison dismantled the instrument – including nearly all of its 5,403 pipes – and transported it to their workshop in Durham for cleaning and repair works to be carried out. The pipes range in length from the size of a pencil to 10m long and the instrument overall is one of the largest in the country, weighing approximately 20,000kg.

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