Music / Colston Hall

£250,000 donated to help restore Colston Hall’s historic organ

By imogen howse, Thursday Mar 5, 2020

Colston Hall’s organ is set to be renamed the Britton Organ following a generous donation from the J & M Britton Charitable Trust.

The donation has helped significantly fund the restoration of the organ, which is estimated to cost just over £1m. The organ has not received any significant maintenance since it was completed in 1965 and is now in dire need of repair and modernisation.

The repair project comes after the instrument was carefully dismantled from its home in the main auditorium as part of the redevelopment of Colston Hall. The organ is now on track to return to the venue in time for it’s re-opening.

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“We are delighted to be able to provide this contribution to the restoration of Colston Hall’s organ and to help restore an instrument that is so important to the artistic life of the city,” said Robert Bernays of the J & M Britton Charitable Trust. The charity’s founder, Jack Britton, was an accomplished organist himself and was committed to supporting Bristol’s music community.

Part of J & M Britton Charitable Trust’s donation will go towards the bi-annual organ scholarship, to be named the Britton Organ Scholarship, which will be awarded to a Bristol-based, school-aged organist who will likely go on to study music further.

The scholarship will provide this student with regular access to the organ throughout the year and the scholar will also perform a public concert with the instrument.

The organ is three storeys high and houses 5,372 pipes, 4,000 electro magnets and 300 miles of wiring. Photo courtesy of Bristol24/7

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous donation,” said Louise Mitchell, chief executive of Colston Hall. “It is a significant amount of money that really kick-starts the funding for the restoration of our amazing organ.

“We look forward to being able to reinstall (the organ) when we’ve completed our transformation, fully restored to its former glory and ready to fill the Hall with its wonderful sound once again.”

The full restoration is set to take two years. Bristol Music Trust is still currently searching for additional support to complete the refurbishment.

Main photo courtesy of Strike Communications 

Read more: Behind the scenes as the Colston Hall undergoes major transformation

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