About the project
In September 2010 we launched a £2.3 million project to return the Royal Festival Hall’s magnificent 7,866-pipe organ to its former glory. Thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the public to date, we have less than £150,000 left to raise and hope that you will help us by sponsoring a pipe.
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 missing, the organ is unable to perform the complete orchestral and solo repertoire for which it was designed, and the auditorium’s aesthetics are affected by the hole made visible when the organ doors are open.
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 is progressing well. The central section of the instrument is now restored and reinstalled in the auditorium and the entire organ will be fully playable once more in 2014, 60 years after it was first installed.
My excitement at becoming Artistic Director of Southbank Centre was tinged with disappointment on discovering that the wonderful historic organ was still only partially refurbished. This invitation from the Heritage Lottery Fund supports our determination to reunite the public with this magnificent instrument which has played such an important role in the history of the Royal Festival Hall.
Pull Out All the Stops – Schools Film
APR 5 2013
Watch footage of Lambeth and Durham school children learning about the Royal Festival Hall organ. Alongside the restoration of the Royal Festival Hall organ Southbank Centre is undertaking a learning programme exploring the organ and documenting its return. As part of this project, we are delighted to share with you a film made by schoolchildren from […] read more
Pull Out All The Stops – reinstallation timelapse footage
MAR 7 2012
Follow the link to watch timelapse footage of the reinstallation of the central section of the organ in January 2012. With two teams working 24 hours a day for 5 days, the frame was constructed, the reservoirs and soundboards lifted into position and the wind trunks, which convey wind from one section of the instrument to another, were connected. Some of the largest pipes were moved into position and the rest of the pipes in this section will be reinstalled this summer.read more