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Notes on the Organ

The Harrison & Harrison Organ in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol

John Harris and John Byfield built a three-manual organ in the church in 1726. It stood on a west gallery, and was one of the largest English organs of its day. It was rebuilt in 1829 by John Smith of Bristol, and completely altered by W.G. Vowles in 1867, when it was installed on both sides of the chancel.

Harrison & Harrison built a new organ in 1912, incorporating a small amount of the old pipework. A new stone chamber for the Swell Organ was built in the angle between the north transept and the north chancel aisle. The Great Organ is placed on the north side of the chancel, with the console to the west; the Choir, Echo and Solo Organs are on the south side. In order to take advantage of this layout, the Swell Organ contains a group of orchestral stops more usually found on the Solo, while the quieter accompanimental stops are allocated to the Echo Organ in the chancel.

In 1947 the Swell Organ, which had been badly damaged by fire in 1941, was rebuilt, and the Pedal Double Ophicleide added. It is regarded as the finest organ of its kind with four manuals and 71 speaking stops and 4500 pipes covering the Pedal, Choir, Great, Swell, Echo and Solo organs.

The organ was comprehensively restored in 2010.