A short history of the Cathedral Organ

An earlier instrument, with material dating back to 1626 was replaced in 1844 and moved to St Paul's Cathedral, Valetta, Malta. In the same year a completely new instrument was installed in Chester Cathedral by Gray & Davison of London. This was rebuilt and enlarged by the Chester firm of Whiteley Bros in 1876 and this re-build was notable for the inclusion of harmonic flutes and reeds by Cavaillé-Coll! The organ was re-erected in the present position at the front of the North Transept in a new case designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. At that time a small choir organ was sited on the nearby rood screen.

In 1910 William Hill & Son of London extensively rebuilt and revoiced the organ, replacing the Cavaillé-Coll reeds with new pipes of their own. The choir organ was enlarged and moved to a site behind the choirstalls on the South side. Rushworth & Dreaper of Liverpool overhauled the instrument in 1969, providing new mechanism and some new pipework, notably flute mutations on the solo organ and extra mixtures on each division. This design, drawn up by Roger Fisher, respected the sterling quality of the Hill work while adding significantly to the tonal palette available for effective performance of baroque and modern music. Since 1991 the organ has been in the care of David Wells of Liverpool and a programme of mechanical refurbishment has been put into operation.