Organ of St John’s Church, Cardiff

Organ of St John’s Church, St John Street

photo of organ consoleThis historic instrument is inside St John the Baptist Church, in the centre of Cardiff. It was made in 1894 by organ builder “Father” Henry Willis and donated by the curate of St John’s, the Rev Cyril Stacey. To hear a clip of organist Philip Thomas playing Purcell's Trumpet Voluntary on this instrument, press play: Or, download mp3 (805KB)

The organ has 38 “speaking stops” that still sound just as “Father” Willis left them. There are three keyboards for the hands and a pedal-board for the feet. Their mechanisms remain unaltered.

Throughout the 20th century, many similar organs were modernised and robbed of their Victorian splendour. This organ escaped any such changes. In 2001, the British Institute of Organ Studies awarded it a Grade 1 Historic Organ Certificate, acknowledging it as an instrument of national importance and authentic Victorian heritage.

“Father” Willis organs are renowned for their dynamic tonal qualities – ranging from quiet whispers to mighty thunderings. With more than 2,200 pipes, this organ is no exception.

In addition to a wide variety of solo sounds, it has inspiring diapason choruses and a battery of fiery trumpets. All are complemented by monumentally sounding pedal pipes.

Designed to lead the singing by large congregations and choirs, the organ also produces a splendid sound in solo recitals, particularly those held since its full restoration in 2005. The specialist conservation work was carried out by David Wells Organ Builders of Liverpool, funded by a large grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and many private donations.

With thanks to Philip Thomas, organist/curator of St John's

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: CF10 1GL

Website with more information about the organ’s restoration