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The last blast of Colston Hall’s pipe organ

67 years ago the newly re-built Colston Hall was preparing to unveil Bristol’s pristine new auditorium for the Festival of Britain. But the iconic organ, built by expert craftsman Harrison & Harrison of Durham, wasn’t installed until nearly five years after hall opened.

The organ, the fourth of its kind at Colston Hall, was finally celebrated at an opening ceremony on 18 January 1956 and was presided by Bristol’s Lord Mayor Alderman Harry Crook, and organist George Thalben-Ball who performed the first concert.

Now, as we commence our ambitious project to transform the hall, we say a brief farewell to the fantastic instrument  that has been the star of countless concerts through the years as it is removed and transported back to Durham for refurbishment.

Last week we dismantled the organ and all 5,372 pipes ranging from tiny ‘tin whistles’ to 32-foot tall ones that rumble in the bass have been removed, catalogued, packaged and loaded into 7 lorries for transportation back to Durham. We were lucky enough to take a look inside the giant instrument as it was being dismantled.

Discover more about our organ

Take a tour of our organ with BBC music magazine editor Oliver Condy and Bristol and District Organist’s Association member Chris Mansfield.

Find out more about the history of Colston Hall’s pipe organs here.

Welcome to
Bristol Beacon

On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon.

Our new name is just the first step, it is about more than the sign above our door. Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.

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