The Queen’s Organ was the welcome result of collaboration between the Lord Mayor of London, the City of London Corporation, and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. It was commissioned by Alderman Roger Gifford through the generosity of the City of London Corporation and was a gift to Her Majesty the Queen in honour of the sixtieth anniversary of the Coronation. The Queen graciously agreed that the instrument should be permanently housed at Westminster Abbey so, after an initial period in Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor, the instrument was installed and dedicated in the Henry VII Lady Chapel in November 2013.
The organ was built in east London by Mander Organs, and has two manuals and pedals. Amongst the selection of stops are two novelties: a Pédale de tonnerre (a thunder pedal) and a Rossignol (a nightingale). These so-called ‘toy stops’ were an important ingredient in European organs during the seventeenth and eighteenth but are a highly unusual feature of contemporary English organs.
The case design is based loosely on designs of eighteenth-century English chamber organs and the front pipes are gilded using French Red gold leaf. All the pipes are made of a mixture of tin and lead, with exception of the Stopped Diapason and Bourdon, which are of pine.
Chimney Flute 4
Open Diapason 8
Stopped Diapason 8
Couplers II/P, I/P
Thunder or drum pedal
Nightingale with revolving birds
The biggest challenge we face is actually time – getting all our work done alongside the daily routine of the Abbey as a working church, visitor attraction and home to 1,000 years of history.