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Organ Restoration Project

Built in 1877 and barely touched since our unique organ is finally receiving some much needed attention.

Help us to restore it to full working order and to keep it working for generations to come... 

Donate to the Organ Restoration Project now at

News

Our unique Hery Willis organ is back in and sounding amazing. The Organ team are now working on a series of ongong events and workshops to open this wonderful instrument up to the community. For details of forthcoming events see the full events listings.
Click here
for photos of the restoration work done at the Harrison and Harrison Factory in Durham

Background

Those of you familiar with the Union Chapel may not have noticed our Organ deliberately hidden as it is behind the stone arches and decorative screens; even the organist is tucked away behind the pulpit. But the organ is an integral part of the Union Chapel.

Specially commissioned for the opening of the Chapel in 1878 it was built by Henry Willis and is considered one of the finest unaltered examples of his work.  Perhaps the foremost organ builder of his time, Willis built around 1000 organs including those at the Royal Albert Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral.  What makes our Organ so special is the fact that is not only a beautiful example of Willis’s craftsmanship but it is also the only Willis Organ left in England to have an original hydraulic blowing system. This has been out of action since the 1930’s but survives intact in the bowels of the Chapel.

We are now embarking on the start of the first major restoration the Organ has undergone since its completion 1878. Each pipe will be painstakingly removed and taken to the Harrison & Harrison factory in Durham where the restoration work is being done. This work will not only allow us to keep using the Organ for many years to come but will also reinstate the original hydraulic bellows meaning that for the first time in 80 years the organ will sound as Henry Willis intended.

The story about the dismantling of Union Chapel’s  mythic
organ for its restoration, after being the soul of the church
for more than 130 years and part of its architecture since it
was built.
London, UK. 2012.


A film by Maria Court in collaboration with composer Emily
Appleton Holley.


This work has been made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund who have granted us £470,00,  three quarters of the cost of restoring the organ.

We now face the massive task of raising around £160,000 in order to complete the work.

There are many ways in which you can help:


Give What You Can

Online through Just Giving

Or by sending a cheque made payable to 'Union Chapel Project' to Organ Restoration Project, Union Chapel, Compton Avenue, London, N1 2XD


Become a Member

A great way to support the all work of the Union Chapel 40% of the profit from membership goes to the Organ Restoration Project (the other 60% goes to Margins Homelessness Project


Regular Giving

Support us with regular donations via standing order, or by remembering us in your will; please contact us via email accounts@unionchapel.org.uk
or call 020 7704 9050 for more information.


Become A Friend

The Friends of Union Chapel help restore & preserve the Union Chapel by organising monthly work days where you can get stuck in with gardening, small restoration projects and many other activities.

   ©Atherton-Chiellino