Thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Funded project, the church’s Victorian organ has been restored to its former glory, ensuring that generations to come will be able to enjoy its music.
A performance incorporating music from the 1892 consecration service was given at the official unveiling held yesterday afternoon.
Revd Canon Bob White, vicar of St Mary’s Portsea and area dean of Portsmouth, said: ‘Standing at the front of the church at the rededication of the organ I was overwhelmed with the opening hymn which was sung loudly and enthusiastically by the large congregation that had gathered.
‘There was a real sense of celebration and joy, and of a community coming together to mark a significant and historic event.’
The service of dedication and presentation of the heritage restoration presentation was given by William McVicker and Andrew Caskie of Nicholson & Co. Ltd., and an inaugural recital performed by Thomas Trotter while celebratory refreshments were provided.
The newly restored organ represents the hard work of those involved in The Organ Project, which was set up to interpret, restore, enhance and celebrate the heritage associated with 130 years of music-making at the church.
The unique 1889 Walker pipe organ was in a critical condition where interim repairs were no longer sufficient.
However, The Organ Project was able to restore the instrument to its original Victorian character.
Bob added: ‘The Organ Project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has enabled us to reveal the impressive tone and quality of the Walker Organ (installed in 1889), in addition created opportunities for a large number of people of all ages to explore together music and heritage in a variety of ways – and through it all there has been a strong sense of fun and enjoyment.
‘All of this has been achieved by a wonderful team of professionals and volunteers who have ensured that we are able to pass on this gift to future generations – we look forward to continuing to work together with the wider community to be inspired by and enjoy the Walker Organ.’