Southbank Centre has been given the green light by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to work up plans for a grant of £950,000 to complete the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall’s organ.

The first phase of the organ refurbishment, the restoration and reinstallation of the Swell, Great fluework and Pedal Principal 32ft stop, was completed as part of the major transformation of the Royal Festival Hall, which reopened in June 2007. The final phase, at a cost of over £2 million, will be completed in 2013.

The second round application to HLF will be submitted by Southbank Centre in March and the outcome is likely to be announced in June. A major fundraising campaign will be launched in September to complete the funding required for the work.

The restoration work is being carried out by Harrison and Harrison Ltd, the company that originally built and installed the organ in 1954, and was responsible for the first phase of the refurbishment.

Alan Bishop, Chief Executive of Southbank Centre, said: “We are committed to fully restoring the great organ of the Royal Festival Hall for the next generation. I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this important encouragement at such a vital time in our plans.”

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the London region said: “We look forward to working further with the Southbank Centre to develop their plans for a full award to restore this magnificent organ, so that this centre-piece of the Royal Festival Hall may be enjoyed by future generations.”

Sir Roger Norrington, said: “The Ralph Downes organ in the Royal Festival Hall is at the heart of classical music-making in London and an incredibly important part of our musical heritage. I’m so pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given Southbank Centre the go-ahead to take their application to the final stage.”

 

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