Rochdale Town Hall - Organ Survey

Closed 14 Oct 2022

Opened 22 Sep 2022


One of the most famous and iconic historic features of Rochdale Town Hall is the organ, which was installed in 1913. The was a gift of philanthropist Sir Samuel Turner on the occasion of the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, who were present for its opening recital.

Constructed by J.J Binns of Bramley in Leeds and considered one of the famous organ builder’s finest works, the giant instrument features 3018 pipes and 53 speaking stops. It stood pride and place for over 60 years, until it was rebuilt by J.W.Walker & Sons Ltd in the late 70s. It still remains one of the finest musical instruments in the world as well as a superb example of J.J. Binns’ craftsmanship.

It was one of the very last grand concert organs made in the UK before World War One, which effectively put a stop to the building of organs of this amazing quality, as many of the materials were never available again.

In recent years, the organ has been host to many recitals by organist from all over the UK and abroad, including a yearly concert by internationally renowned organist Jonathan Scott. The organ is also regularly used during weddings, a key highlight during tours of the building and other community and private celebrations.  

Due to the Town Hall closing for renovation, the organ has been boxed in to prevent damage, following which it will need to be brought back to commission. An organ such as this is complex and needs regular use to keep it working well. It is expected the organ will show numerous defects when played again, many due to components already in need of replacement or refurbishment.

Therefore we want to clean, repair and restore the organ back to its former glory so that it remains in regular use for the people of Rochdale and beyond for many generations to come. The restored organ will provide education for students of the borough and inspire the next generation of organists.

So, we would like to hear from you about your current opinions on the organ and how you would like to see it used in the future…


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  • Service Planning