Historical reconstruction of 1877/1893 IV/51 Cavaillé-Coll organ


We are delighted to have been commissioned to undertake the historical reconstruction of the organ in Manchester Town Hall. The organ was built by the Parisian organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1877, enlarged by him in 1893, and then rebuilt by the English firms Lewis & Co. in 1912 and Jardine & Co. in 1970.

We are undertaking the work in an equal collaboration with our friends and esteemed colleagues from the Dutch firm of Flentrop Orgelbouw. The organ will be returned in almost every way to its 1893 condition, including the re-establishment of the original pitch, the manufacture of new actions (with three new Barker Lever machines), new console, chests, and aspects of the wind system, all in a strict replica of the Cavaillé-Coll style. The casework will be returned to its original 1877 appearance with the recreation of the wooden staircases built into either side of the facade.

The reconstruction of the organ, the most significant surviving instrument of the few built in the UK by arguably the world’s finest organ builder of the nineteenth century, forms part of a much wider Our Town Hall project to safeguard and repair the whole of the Grade 1-listed building. The organ was wholly dismantled in the late summer of 2020, with completion planned to coincide with the re-opening of Waterhouse’s much-loved building. The consultant for the work will be Dr William McVicker.

Image on project page link from, used by kind permission.