The Organ: T C Lewis’ masterpiece

Southwark Cathedral’s organ of 1897 is one of the finest Cathedral organs in the country. The work of T. C. Lewis is rightly revered by musicians and organ builders alike, and the Southwark Cathedral organ is one of the firm’s finest.

“Lovers of organ tone will be in no doubt that they stand in the presence of greatness. The instrument possesses a great variety of quiet registers, including some notable families of flutes. But ultimately, it is the effect of the full organ that evokes the greatest admiration. Though the effectiveness of the contribution from the Swell must not be underestimated, the big sound from Southwark comes from the Great and the Pedal. The bell-like grandeur and harmonic brilliance of the Diaspon Chorus underpinned by the Pedal reeds and flue-work is a sound of astonishing magnificence.” (Dr Harry Bramma, Cathedral Organist 1976 - 1989)

The organ is key to the life of the Cathedral. It is in daily use in worship. It is also in huge demand for concerts, which contribute to the Cathedral’s artistic outreach and income. The splendour of the organ enhances the worship and grandeur of special services and the consoling power of music can be felt during memorial services and funerals. Its joy can be heard in carol services, commemoration services of schools and many concerts. Its versatility means that it is as effective in a gentle continuo role as in the mighty solo part of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. Each week a lunchtime organ recital is attended by many without charge.

For more information about the history of the organ, please click on this link:

The organ console is the heart of the organ. The existing console was installed in the 1950s and was last restored in 1986. The condition of the electric circuits has deteriorated substantially, to the extent that repair work must often be carried out before each major performance. As one of the finest Cathedral organs in the country, the condition of the console is beginning to have a noticeable effect on its performance, and organists are increasingly finding it a liability for major events: during a recent Radio 3 broadcast, one of the pistons fired off on its own!

The restoration or replacement of the console, would have a dramatic effect on the performance of the organ, and it would enhance the instruments attraction for organists. A complete restoration of the pipes would also be undertaken, including a thorough clean and re-leathering. Our initial estimate of costs is £300,000: all donations received will help us to carry out this important work.  If you would like to contribute, please click on the donate button below.