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The Organ Project: 130 years of music-making in Portsmouth

A musical workshop at St Mary’s Church, Portsea

The Organ Project: 130 years of music-making in Portsmouth

Published: 19 May 2021
Benefact Trust is helping to save Portsmouth’s unique Victorian heritage, with a grant of £17,000 towards the restoration of the 1889 pipe organ at St Mary’s Church, Portsea.
The Organ Project celebrates the heritage associated with 130 years of music-making in St Mary’s Church through delivering engaging and inspiring community activities focussed around the restoration of the church’s historic pipe organ.
St Mary’s Church was consecrated on 20th October 1889 after taking only two years to build. Sir Arthur Blomfield’s grand 1880s architectural design for the new St Mary’s Church was made possible, in part, through a generous gift from W.H. Smith II, First Lord of the Admiralty and founder of the widely known stationary chain!
The nationally-significant J.W. Walker & Sons pipe organ is at the heart of life within Portsea Parish, yet has been in critical condition for some years.
Following a National Lottery Heritage Fund award in 2020, The Organ Project has been able to begin the meticulous process of historic restoration alongside continuing to fundraise.
The Organ Project is now on track to reach its fundraising goal, thanks to recent funding from Benefact Trust, meaning that this magnificent piece of Victorian heritage will be restored, interpreted and celebrated for many years to come.
Matt Dixon, Project Manager for The Organ Project, said: “We’re delighted to receive this support from Benefact Trust. We are looking forward to sharing one of the true treasures in our city and being able to give future generations the opportunity to explore and enjoy the organ and interpret the part it plays in or lives as a church and community.”
Chloe Ewen, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, added: “The Organ Project is a fantastic example of a community pulling together so that they can preserve an important piece of their heritage to inspire future generations.
“We’re delighted that our grant will help the church to reach its fundraising goal and we can’t wait to see the restored organ in all its glory!”
Children in a musical workshop at St Mary’s Church, Portsea

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