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organ 151

January 2015

3 manuals
30 speaking stops

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St George
Gateshead

Builder:
Henry Willis, 1901, 1905
Harrison & Harrison, 1979,
1983, 2003


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"Father" Willis died in February 1901, but although this organ was not installed until later that year and hence is strictly speaking the work of Henry Willis II, it is an important example of the work being done by this firm at the time of its famous founder's death.

The tubular-pneumatic action and specification remain unaltered, thanks to successive sensitive restorations by the Durham-based firm of Harrison & Harrison, so it is a rare unmolested example of  a late "Father" Willis design.

Recent restorations have seen the installation of new blowing plant and the replacement of the swell lever with a balanced swell pedal: the only concession to modern practice. Composition pedals have been retained, rather than modern combination pistons.  In 2010 the instrument was awarded a Grade 1 Historic Organ Certificate.

During last year's IAO Congress, delegates had the pleasure of hearing a recital here by Birmingham-born Francesa Massey, Sub-Organist of Durham Cathedral.

You can listen to an earlier (1878) "Father" Willis organ in Glasgow Cathedral via January 15's Music of the Month

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