St Nicholas’ stands on probably the oldest church site in Newcastle. The building was reconstructed in the Georgian style in 1799, which, together with substantial alterations in later years, has produced an unusual building essentially of classical design, seating approximately 800 people.
The present organ chamber, situated in the south east corner of St Nicholas’, was added to the church when Harrison & Harrison installed a small two-manual instrument in 1884. However, organists had a vision of something grander, and eventually a second-hand J.J.Binns house organ, with four manuals and pedals, was installed and adapted to fit this inadequate space. Very little direct sound emerged from the chamber opening in the south aisle owing to the presence of a very fine solid oak screen. The Binns also suffered from difficulties of access for maintenance and eventually succumbed to the general effects of age.
A new organ with mechanical key action and electric stop action was completed by Nicholson & Co in August 2000. Although architectural and liturgical limitations meant that the organ had to make use of the existing chamber, the instrument was orientated to speak west, allowing unimpeded tonal projection into the main body of the church. The vast oak screen was relocated to fill the chancel opening and a new classically designed organ case now graces the arch of the south aisle opening.