Organ Restoration Project

About the organ

The organ of St George’s, Jesmond was completed in 1887 by the famous British organ builder T. C. Lewis. It came just two years after the equally celebrated instrument at St George’s, Cullercoats, and ten years before Lewis’s magnum opus at Southwark Cathedral in London. The quality of the workmanship is legendary and these instruments represent the pinnacle of organ building in the late nineteenth century. Before coming to the church, Charles Mitchell loaned the new instrument to the 1887 Royal Mining, Engineering and Industrial Exhibition on Newcastle’s Town Moor. Over two million people attended the exhibition and the organ provided a striking musical centrepiece.

Unusually, the instrument was then completely reconstructed by J.J. Binns in 1902, who enlarged it to four-manuals and 44 stops. This means that it is a unique blend of two notable English builders – the pipework is largely Lewis, and the console and internal pneumatic mechanism is by Binns. The specification can be seen here.



Since its installation in St George’s in 1888, the organ has served us, without restoration for 135 years, celebrating countless life events, and leading Sunday worship, week in, week out. In addition to accompanying the liturgy, the organ is used by many local choirs and other musical ensembles, is heard in a series of summer organ recitals and is used extensively for teaching.

It is now time for a major conservation effort. Over the years, dirt has accumulated, leathers have perished and the organ is becoming increasingly unreliable. Missing notes, wind leaks and action faults are a regular worry. A full restoration is a complex, bespoke project, undertaken by a team of highly qualified artisans, and we must raise £400,000.


Next steps

The Organ Restoration Project has been established to restore the organ to full working order and to ensure that it remains at the heart of the city’s musical life for generations to come.


Sponsor a Pipe Campaign

Why not sponsor one of the organ’s 2540 pipes – from the tiniest, just the size of a pencil, to the monumental pedal pipes, hidden from view at the back of the organ. Any name can be associated with the sponsored pipe (your name, the name of a loved one, or an organisation), and contributions will be recorded in a specially commissioned book of donors.


Get involved

The support of the community is central, and we are open to all sorts of fund raising ideas – from tea dances to hymnathons. Your involvement in these events as a participant or volunteer will make the fundraising fun!

We will be making approaches to numerous grant-giving bodies, and are currently looking for volunteers to help with this important research. Anyone able to give an hour or so a week is warmly encouraged to be in touch via


Fundraising events

25 March, 20.00
‘The King of Kings’, Cecil B de Mille’s 1927 silent movie with live organ accompaniment provided by Drew Cantrill-Fenwick

Tickets £12 (£8) on the door and from Eventbrite:


31 May, 14.00
Kids’ Organ Prom, Prokofiev ‘Peter and the Wolf’

Played on the organ by John Challenger (Salisbury Cathedral) and narrated by Michael Hampel (Durham Cathedral)
Free admission, but booking essential:

22 July, all day
Sponsored hymn-a-thon

More details soon

Online book and music selling. We are looking for good quality, second-hand music and books (textbooks are especially welcome!). To make a donation, please email

Saturday Sessions’: jazz, folk and contemporary music in the unique setting of St George’s

More details soon

Listen to the Organ

Sample sounds of the organ can be heard on it’s YouTube channel here.

More information and greater details can be found in our Organ Restoration Brochure. Download it here.

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