Henry Willis began the construction of the organ in 1923, and part of the organ was used at the consecration of the Cathedral in the following year.
The organ was not completed until 1926 and finally dedicated on 18th October that year.
An ‘Anniversary’ recital is given by the Cathedral Organist each year on the nearest Saturday to 18th, in commemoration of its dedication.
The organ is situated in two chambers on opposite sides of the Quire. It currently comprises 10,268 pipes and 200 stops contained in nine divisions. The Great, Solo, and Bombarde organs occupy the South case; the Swell, Choir and Positif occupy the North case; the Corona Organ (installed 1997) is situated in a gallery high up under the tower vaulting; and the Central Organ (installed 2007) is located on the South Central Gallery; the Pedal organ being distributed between both North and South cases.
There are two five-manual consoles; the original one up in a dedicated gallery under the North Choir case and a mobile recital console at floor level, the generous gift, in 1989, of Victor Hutson CBE. The Choir and Positif Organs are played from the same keyboard, the Corona organ can be played from either the Choir or Bombarde keyboard, and the Central organ from either the Bombarde or Great.
The ‘Trompette Militaire’ and the ‘Tuba Magna’ stops are the loudest voices on the organ, with the ‘Militaire’ being located high up on the Corona Gallery beneath the Tower vaulting; manufactured and dedicated in 1997, it was the generous gift of Prof Alan Dronsfield. Conversely the ‘Tuba Magna’ is located high up in the South case of the organ and speaks into the Central Space of the Cathedral.
Both the recital console and the ‘Militaire’ were manufactured in the Liverpool workshops of David Wells Organ Builders, who are custodians of the organ and responsible for its tuning and current refurbishment.
When the organ was completed in 1926 it was the largest musical instrument ever conceived, and, since the installation of the Central division in 2007, it continues to be the largest pipe organ in the UK.
The Cathedral Organists
|Dr. Frederick William Burstall
|1910 – 1916 (of the Lady Chapel)
|Dr. Walter Henry (Harry) Goss Custard
|1917 – 1955
|Dr. Christopher Noel Rawsthorne
|1955 – 1980
|Prof. Dr. Ian Tracey
If you would like to know more about the history and dimensions of the Grand Organ and the Lady Chapel Organ at Liverpool Cathedral, read; ‘The Organs in Liverpool Cathedral’ account compiled by Professor Ian Tracey, Cathedral Organist. This is available to buy in the Cathedral Shop.
- Liverpool Cathedral Grand Organ Specification
- Liverpool Cathedral Lady Chapel Organ Specification
- LCO Grand Organ Keyboards 2023
- LCO Grand Organ Left Jamb 2023
- LCO Grand Organ Right Jamb 2023
Hear the organ:
Dan Bishop plays Prelude & Fugue in C minor by J.S. Bach