Norwich Cathedral recently witnessed a momentous occasion as the Bishop of Norwich bestowed his blessings upon the newly-rebuilt organ. The event marked the culmination of a remarkable £1.8 million project led by organ experts Harrison and Harrison, aimed at preserving the historic instrument for future generations.
The blessing took place during a special service on Sunday, 26 November, with the organ loft serving as the sacred space. As a symbolic gesture, Harrison and Harrison handed back the keys to the Cathedral after completing the extensive project on one of the country's largest organs.
Ashley Grote, the Cathedral's Master of Music, expressed his joy, saying, "It has been wonderful to celebrate the return of the Cathedral organ this weekend, after so many years of planning and hard work. The completion of the organ project marks an exciting new chapter in the musical life of our Cathedral, which we hope will touch the lives of people right across our community, bringing high-quality music and opportunities to people of all ages."
The Very Rev Dr Andrew Braddock, the Dean of Norwich, conveyed gratitude to all who supported the project. He highlighted the national significance of the instrument, emphasising its role in supporting and inspiring the multitude of services and events that annually draw thousands of visitors to the Cathedral.
Practical work commenced in May 2022, as scaffolding was erected to facilitate the removal of most of the organ's several thousand pipes. These pipes were transported to the workshop of organ specialists Harrison and Harrison in Durham for further refinement. By early 2023, most of the organ's working pipes were returned to the Cathedral. Then, between May and July of last year each of the 5,767 pipes underwent voicing, or tuning.
The rebuild project marked the first comprehensive overhaul of the organ since its reconstruction in 1942, following a fire that partially destroyed it in April 1938.