The three-manual mechanical action organ was built for the cathedral by Thomas Lewis in 1875. This instrument gave a century of service, though it is clear that Lewis found it difficult to achieve an effective layout and action within the challenging constraints of the organ’s position, and the action was reported as being very heavy. The Swell expression box was, oddly, positioned with the shutters at the rear. In 1975, a local firm replaced the key action altogether with a new mechanical action of poor design.
The work included a complete restoration of all soundboards, winding, pipework and console, and the provision of a brand-new mechanical action of modern design. The soundboards will be re-palleted to ensure that the organ has, for the first time, a reliable, responsive and sensitive touch. The internal layout will be improved so that the Swell shutters speak forwards in the conventional manner.
Nicholson & Co. was responsible for the specialist design and installation of the new mechanical action and the repair and regulation of the pipework.