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Why Restore 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 magnus 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.

Our organ has a unique history. 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. Since its installation in St George’s in 1888, it has served us for 135 years, without major restoration, 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. The parish is committed to training the young players of the future, and widening access to this important instrument.

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 now need to raise £400,000.

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