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Ely Cathedral Organ

An organ was first built at Ely Cathedral in 1685, reputedly by Renatus Harris.

In 1831 Elliot and Hill built a new organ within the old cases, which stood on the choir screen.

This organ was rebuilt in the north choir triforium by Hill and Son in 1850, when the old cases and choir screen were removed, and the present case, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, was installed.

In 1908, Harrison and Harrison built a virtually new organ, incorporating some of the old pipe work. Most of the organ was placed in the North choir triforium, with the console below, on the stone gallery behind the top of the choir stalls.

The restoration of 1974-75 included some tonal changes, a new Positive division in the lower part of the Scott case, development of the Pedal Organ and modernization of the action and console. The new scheme was drawn up by the Cathedral Organist, Dr Arthur Wills, in consultation with Mr Cecil Clutton and the organ builders.

Restoration work on the fabric of the building of the last three bays of the North Choir Aisle meant that the massive Cathedral organ needed to be removed. The Dean and Chapter took this opportunity to ask Harrison and Harrison to carry out an extensive programme of restoration between 1999 and 2001. The proposals for this rebuild increased the versatility of the instrument, and enhanced its musical integrity. The restoration work to the organ cost in the region of £400,000 and was funded by the Order of St. Etheldreda.

The Organs and Organists of Ely Cathedral

by Nicholas Thistlethwaite

Find out more about Ely Cathedral's organ