York & North Yorkshire

York Minster sells organ pipes to raise funds for restoration

View of the organ Image copyright Duncan Lomax
Image caption The organ is one of the largest in the UK with more than 5,400 pipes

York Minster is selling pipes from its grand organ to raise money towards the instrument's £2m restoration.

Thirty decorative wooden case pipes dating back to 1832 are being auctioned online.

They are among 102 pipes which have not been used since the organ was last refurbished more than 100 years ago.

The organ is one of the UK's largest, with more than 5,400 pipes which range in length from the size of a pencil to 33ft (10m).

The wooden pipes are taller than a person and are painted with a gold, green, cream and red decoration.

Image copyright Duncan Lomax
Image caption The painted wooden pipes date back to 1832

The money raised will be used to restore the remaining wooden pipes, which were part of the organ built in the Victorian era after the previous instrument was destroyed in an arson attack in 1829.

Neil Sanderson from the York Minster Fund said it was a chance for bidders "to own a piece of York Minster's musical heritage".

"Although where possible we have tried to retain and refurbish the instrument's original features, unfortunately around 30% of the case pipes were beyond economic repair," he said.

Image copyright Chapter of York
Image caption The organ was dismantled and moved to a restorer in Durham

Repair work started in 2018, with the instrument being removed to a specialist restorer in Durham, where it is being cleaned and rebuilt.

It is expected the organ will be reinstalled in spring 2020. It will be tuned and prepared ready to be played again in the autumn.

Image copyright Duncan Lomax
Image caption The organ is expected to be working again in 2020

Last month, a German tourist contacted the minster offering to return an organ pipe taken as a holiday souvenir 50 years ago.

Klaus Weber said the pipe was removed by a member of a tour group he was with in the summer of 1969.

York Minster said it was unaware the pipe was missing.

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