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An organ was installed in the medieval church in 1713 and, following enlargement by Greenwood Brothers of Leeds, transferred to the present Victorian building in 1841, when Dr SS Wesley became organist here. The great Edmund Schulze added a number of ranks in 1859, many of which still survive, but the organ as it is heard today is largely the work of Arthur Harrison following a complete reconstruction in 1914.
Restoration work was carried out by Harrison & Harrison in 1949 and the Leeds firm of Wood, Wordsworth & Co undertook a major rebuild in 1965, when the pipework of an Altar Organ was incorporated into the main body of the instrument. Andrew Carter of Wakefield spent two years on a complete rebuild starting in 1995, including solid-state transmission throughout.
In 2002, a Jubilee Trumpet was added to the Solo division in memory of Dr Melville Cooke (organist 1937-57). This currently replaces a Tuba 8, but these pipes have been retained for future use.
As you enter the church, your view is dominated by a huge, dark wooden screen - once memorably described as "a wierd mass of carving" (see central photo) that completely obscures the pipework. From its South Transcept location, the organist (currently, and since 1975, Dr Simon Lindley) sits with the choir to his left and the congregation to his right.
Your Webmaster recently had the pleasure of attending a recital here given by Tom Keogh, soon after he had won BOA's Leonard Gibbons Fund sponsorship for 2011/2.
BOA member Thomas Keogh at the console of Leeds Parish Church, July 2011.