£100, £1,000, or make a major gift or donation

The reinstatement of a fine pipe organ is a significant aspect of the Wesley Centre project and the instrument will grace the east wall of the building, directly above the new minstrel’s gallery.

With the exception of the organ at Ampleforth Abbey to the north, once fully restored it will be one of the finest instruments in Ryedale within a 20 mile radius of Malton from York to the Yorkshire east coast. It will be widely used for the accompaniment of choirs and orchestras, and will be a magnificent instrument for recital performances.     

The historic 1877 Forster & Andrews organ is a large three manual and pedal instrument of 31 stops originally built by the Hull firm for the Concert Hall of the Royal Normal School for the Blind and Music Academy, in Upper Norwood, South London.

Forster & Andrews: one of the great northern organ builders

The work of Forster & Andrews was built to endure and such instruments during the late 19th Century were produced during a period of prolific activity by the Hull firm. Forster & Andrews was considered to be one of the great northern organ builders, which between 1843 and 1956 built more than 1,300 instruments for predominantly Anglican churches and cathedrals, Methodist Central Halls and churches, other free churches, and town halls throughout the United Kingdom. It also built instruments for churches overseas including in Australia, Africa, Newfoundland, and Central and South America. Some of the firm’s most famous work included installations in the City Temple Church London, and in Hull itself, including the organs of Holy Trinity, City Hall, and the former Queen’s Hall Methodist Church in Hull.

The historic Forster & Andrews organ is significant for other reasons

The organ, Opus number 728, is characterised by unusually good material and contains some fine reeds and wonderful orchestral stops. Most notably, the 1877 Forster & Andrews organ is the instrument on which the famous blind-from-birth Yorkshireman, organist and composer Alfred Hollins, first learned to play the organ from 1878, and on which he later spent much of his career teaching other blind students.  Hollins travelled the world and giving virtuoso performances and was dubbed ‘Alfred the great’. 

Today's organ restoration by one of Britain's finest organ builders since 1845

The organ is currently undergoing a £226,500 comprehensive restoration by Henry Willis & Sons of Liverpool. Henry Willis is one of the oldest and most famous organ building companies active in the world today having been in continuous operation since 1845 and with an Opus list of over 2,500 organs up to the present day.

Find out more here: Henry Willis & Sons Organ Builders

The comprehensive restoration and rebuilding of the organ will ensure its sustainability for the next 100 years – without the need for further major work other than normal tuning and maintenance.

There are four ways in which you can help to support the conservation and restoration of this magnificent pipe organ:

  • Sponsor a pipe: for £100, make a gift by sponsoring one or more of the 2,500 individual organ pipes and have your name beautifully inscribed for posterity on a dedicated tablet adjacent to the organ
  • Sponsor a whole ‘rank’ of pipes: for £1,000, make a gift by sponsoring one of the 31 complete sets of pipes within the instrument, for example, the Harmonic Tromba, the Hohl Flute, or the romantic Orchestral Oboe (see here for the full list) and have your name beautifully inscribed for posterity on a dedicated tablet located close to the organ
  • Sponsor the conservation and restoration of the 45 decorated front pipes: this highly skilled conservation and restoration work will be undertaken by one of the finest guilders, specialist pipe decorators and craftsmen in the country; the richly decorated front pipes will soar almost to the ceiling of the Wesley Centre and will forever remain one of the most visible aspects of the organ, immediately upon entering the Wesley Centre. This painstaking and precious conservation work will cost £20,000 to complete. If you’d be interested in donating 50% or more of this cost, your own name, personal dedication or memorial to a loved one can be forever inscribed on the front of the organ on a beautiful brass plaque.
  • Sponsor more than 50% of the total cost: by making a major gift for the organ restoration and rebuilding, the whole organ will be named and referred to for evermore after you, or as a memorial to a loved one, i.e., The [Name] Forster & Andrews Pipe Organ. An especially inscribed plaque will be permanently affixed to the organ console for posterity.  

Donate on this page, or get in touch if you'd like further details:

Paul Emberley, 01653 698626 or [email protected]

You can leave a special note or dedication in the comment box when making a donation.

Thank you so much.