Organ at Royal Hospital School is given grade I-listing
A musical instrument at a Suffolk school has been given the highest listing possible by the British Institute of Organ Studies.
The Hill, Norman and Beard 1933 organ, which is the size of a four-bedroom house, in the chapel at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook has received Grade I-listing - the highest grade available.
School organist Andrew Cantrill said the grading is a “validation of what we believe the worth of it is and the interest in it”.
He added: “A lot of well known organs don’t get the listing - the Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral - they haven’t got it because they have had too many changes.
“Some very minor things have been changed that doesn’t affect the sound or the historical significance of it.”
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Mr Cantrill had to write a proposal to submit to the British Institute of Organ Studies.
He said: “Everyone knows about the organ and it is very famous, so the BIOS considered the evidence.
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“It hasn’t been changed since 1933 which is very unusual.
“It’s not legally binding but the school has been absolutely brilliant about maintaining it. It’s in very good nick and that’s a lot of money over a lot of years.
“It’s a bit like the Fourth Bridge because it has so many perishable parts, so it’s a big job. It’s in good condition and that makes a big difference.
“People don’t really get the scale of it. It goes up 30ft - it’s absolutely massive.”
The organ, which is a favourite of famous organist Carlo Curley, is still used to perform four to five services per week and the students practice for hours every week meaning that the organ is well-used.
And it is tuned and maintained on a monthly basis by a man who worked for the company, Hill, Norman and Beard, who built it.
Mr Cantrill, who teaches keyboard beginners to those pursuing university organ scholarships, said the school’s next project was to open the organ up to outside groups and make it more accessible.
“We want to make it an organ for the region and county,” he added.
“We are having an event in April called Stops Away. It’s an entertaining guide to the organ presented by two organists using the organ while pretending to be different animals.”