Thursday 18th September 2014

Good Evening. Welcome to Coventry Cathedral. An extraordinary place. A story you can't ignore.

The Cathedral organ

When the Cathedral was reduced to ruins in an air raid in November 1940, the fine 'Father' Willis organ of 1886 (identical to that in Truro Cathedral) was totally destroyed.

The building of the new Cathedral presented the opportunity for a brand new organ to match it. Messrs Harrison & Harrison were appointed in 1952 and a provisional specification drawn up. The 1950's were a turbulent time for organ building in general. The revolutionary design of the new instrument in the Royal Festival Hall, London, and passion running high between those who favoured the romantic or neo-classical style, meant much argument and controversy before the specification of the organ as it stands – the work of Sidney Campbell in conjunction with Cuthbert Harrison – was agreed in 1959. The organ is therefore something of a compromise, but in a busy cathedral where many demands are placed upon it - recitals, daily services, major events with capacity congregation – it fulfils its role admirably and there are many who hold it in high regard.

The organ was overhauled and upgraded to include solid-state technology in 1986/87. 

The Norwegian Organ, which stands at the west end, was a gift from the people of Norway in 1967. It was built by Torkildsen Brothers and designed by Ole Rasmus Krag. The action is mechanical. In the chancel is a small chamber organ built by Peter Collins. This is a memorial to David Lepine, the first Organist of the new Cathedral who died in 1972 at the age of 43.

The suite of organs was completed in 2007 when we took possession of our newly restored Chamber Organ, thanks to the generosity of a private individual.

Hear the organs

You can hear the great Harrison and Harrison organ at all main Sunday services. In addition, from May to September we offer Lunchtime Organ Concerts with award-winning and international organists playing a wide variety of inspiring music. Click here for details of the 2014 series.