York Minster organ pipes replaced in £2 million refurbishment

Conservation experts have been adding the finishing touches to new pipes for York Minster’s historic grand organ as part of a £2 million refurbishment.

The pipes will replace some of the originals, which dated from the early 1830s and were found to be beyond repair.

They have been painted by graining and marbling specialists to match the distinctive gold, cream, green and red decoration of the originals.

Grand Organ refurbishment at York Minster
Grand Organ refurbishment at York Minster

Thirty of the redundant pipes were sold in an online auction in September and raised more than £20,000 for the once-a-century refurbishment.

Further pipes are being repaired and restored and will be brought back into musical use for the first time in more than 100 years when the organ returns to the minster later in the year.

The instrument – which weighs around 20,000kg and contains 5,403 pipes – was removed from the minster in October 2018 to be repaired and rebuilt by specialists.

The refurbishment includes extensive cleaning and the replacement of the organ’s mechanism.

The organ is due to return to the minster in late spring and it is hoped that it will be ready for use by the end of 2020.