The first of the giant organ pipes and decorative panels made from Austrian oak from St Marie’s historic, unique Lewis Organ have been returned to the Cathedral and are waiting to be re-installed.
The organ dates back to 1875, was a gift to the Cathedral by the 15th Duke of Norfolk and is the only large Lewis organ in a public location, which remains tonally unaltered.
From the start of June to the end of September, all three of the keyboards, many of the stops and part of the pedal board had been installed, together with associated linkages.
While specialists from Wakefield-based A J Carter Professional Organ Building Services have been re-installing the refurbished organ components, fundraisers have so far succeeded in raising more than £11,000 towards the £38,000 that the Cathedral must raise as its part of the £200,000 refurbishment costs.
Fund raising events have included a series of concerts at St Marie’s and other churches, parish socials, Table Top sales, second collections and a novel Smartie Tube Challenge.
Gift Aid on donations so far should raise £1,500, but more needs to be raised to add to the major grant towards refurbishment from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Donations to the organ restoration fund can be sent to Cathedral House, Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 2JB. Gift Aid envelopes are also available in the Cathedral and, if you are a UK taxpayer, using the gift aid envelopes will increase the value of your donation by 25 per cent.
Only three of the tonally unaltered original T C Lewis organs are believed to still be in existence, and St Marie’s is the only one easily accessible daily to the general public in the UK.
St Marie’s is the larger and more impressive example with 1,500 individual pipes ranging from 16ft feet to half an inch in height. While the largest pipes have been returned to the Cathedral and are awaiting re-installation, a further 30 trays of pipes are still waiting to be returned.
Images of the stages in the St Marie’s organ rebuild can be found on the Cathedral web site – http://stmariecathedral.org/ – and at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bx_TMhNKdfHacFN0dHhYU0Y0eXc.