Organ Renewal Project

The Leeds Town Hall organ is one of the finest and largest instruments of its kind in Europe. Measuring 50 metres high by 12 metres wide and weighing 40 tonnes, it has been a key part of the story of music making in the city, dominating the Victoria Hall musically and visually through countless performances, providing pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people since Leeds Town Hall opened in 1858. In current times, every Monday, between September and April, an audience of 200-400 regularly attend free organ recitals given by leading organists from this country and abroad. It is an integral part of Leeds International Concert Season and features each year in Leeds International Film Festival.

This magnificent instrument was originally built by Gray and Davison of London to William Spark and Henry Smart’s ambitious design of nearly 100 stops with many technical innovations. The organ was first played publicly when the building was opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria but the instrument was not completely finished until the following year.

The Leeds Town Hall organ has undergone a series of rebuilds and alterations, the last being in 1972, since when it has been a highly successful recital and orchestral instrument. Although the organ has been a very popular instrument nearly 50 years of heavy use combined with recent environmental factors have all had a damaging impact. In addition, the 1972 project renovated certain aspects of the instrument when, ideally they should have been renewed. As a consequence these components are now reaching the end of their life.