York churches pull out the stops to find a new home for organ

Gillian Sheperd, project manager for the organ restoration project
Gillian Sheperd, project manager for the organ restoration project
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It is of modest proportions compared to the mighty cathedral organ next door at York Minster, which is currently being rebuilt. But the locally-made Denman pipe instrument at St Michael le Belfrey has begun a restoration of its own.

Craftsmen have started to dismantle it before its parts are taken to the West Country to be cleaned and repaired – after which it will be installed at York’s St Lawrence parish church, just outside Walmgate Bar.

The organ has not been used at church services for several years, and the parish said its move to a new home would help support St Michael’s new role as a “resourcing church”.

The parish secretary, Henry Dyer, said: “St Lawrence is looking forward to making a new home for this beautiful instrument. We think it will fit well with our styles of worship and add to the quality and musicality of our singing.”

The Rev Matthew Porter, vicar of St Michael le Belfrey, said it was “heartening” that York’s city centre churches were working together to bring the project to fruition.

The pipe organ dates from 1885 and was one of the largest produced by the York organ builder, William Denman.