About the project
The Royal Festival Hall was lovingly restored between 2005 and 2007 and as part of that refurbishment one-third of the organ was reinstalled. With two-thirds not installed, the organ was unable to perform the complete orchestral and solo repertoire for which it was designed, and the auditorium's aesthetics were affected by the hole made visible when the organ doors were open.
In September 2010 we launched the Pull Out All The Stops campaign with the aim of raising the £2.3 million needed for the full restoration and reinstallation of the 7,866-pipe Royal Festival Hall organ. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £950,000 in support of the project and over £1.3 million has been contributed by over 60,000 people, including donations to sponsor the Durham to London Pull Out All The Stops Bike Ride, undertaken by Southbank Centre Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite in July 2013.
The restoration work by Harrison & Harrison in Durham, who designed and built the organ in 1954 with Ralph Downes CBE, began in February 2011 and will be completed in September 2013. The full organ will be playable once more in 2014, 60 years after it was first installed.
The Royal Festival Hall without the Royal Festival Hall organ is unfinished. The organ, right from the beginning, was part of the idea of this extraordinary concert hall and I am delighted that it is now back in its rightful place and the iconic auditorium is once again complete.