Canterbury Cathedral has launched a fund-raising campaign to find £3.8 million for urgent restoration work to its organ.
A survey has shown that the organ, which sits in the Quire at the east end of the Cathedral, is in such a poor condition that some of its notes cannot be played.
Organ builders Harrison & Harrison are to start dismantling the organ this spring before a temporary instrument is installed in May.
Parts of the new permanent organ will then be installed in time for testing next year while the project as a whole is due to be complete by 2020.
With more than 4,000 pipes, the new organ will be one of the largest in Europe.
Robert Willis, the Dean of Canterbury, said: “This project will not only restore the Cathedral organ but bring back some of the quality and beauty of the original instrument.”
The organ was last overhauled in the 1970s, but the Cathedral says that despite a series of repairs since it is has reached the end of its life.
“Canterbury Cathedral is unusual as its organ pipework is hidden in the roof space above our heads,” it said.
“New longer pipes are being made and existing pipes repaired and re-distributed, effectively doubling the size of today’s organ and enabling a richer, more sensitive and balanced sound.”
A new loft for the organ console will also be built close to the pipework and the choir.
“The sight lines between the organist and conductor will be greatly improved,” the said Cathedral said.
“Work on the organ also provides the opportunity to gain access to one of the oldest parts of the Cathedral, which is in urgent need of repair due to damage by rain water and corrosion.
“The 12th century Quire is home to some of the Cathedral’s most precious fabric, including extensive historic timberwork.
“As well as this work being necessary, it is important that it is done prior to the installation of the new organ pipework.
“By carrying out the organ’s restoration and urgent fabric repairs in tandem, we can ensure the finished instrument is returned to a secure environment.
“It will also reduce the total duration and cost of these collected efforts and give us the opportunity to provide better access for future maintenance by our dedicated craftsmen and women.”
The cost of project is £1.7 million for the organ itself, £300,000 on the console and loft and £1.8 million on enabling and conservation work.
Anyone who wants to support the Cathedral Organ Project can do so through the Cathedral’s Canterbury Voice campaign. Click here for information.