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£1m church appeal to restore Hawksmoor's 1735 Spitalfields organ

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:11 05 October 2010

ENTHUSIASTS are trying to raise £1 million to restore a church organ nearly three centuries old in one of London's historic Hawkesmoor churches. Friends of Christchurch have set about the "colossal job" of raising the cash to restore the organ at Spitalfields built in 1735

By Mike Brooke

ENTHUSIASTS are trying to raise £1 million to restore a church organ nearly three centuries old in one of London's historic Hawkesmoor churches.

The organ at Spitalfields Church behind Liverpool Street station was the largest in the country when the massive structure was completed in 1735.

It fell silent when the church was closed to the public in the 1950s because of its dangerous structure.

Now Friends of Christchurch have set about the "colossal job" of raising the cash to restore it.

"First it involves restoring magnificent organ casing," Friends director Carolyn Fuest explained.

"It's a beautiful and rare piece of 18th century furniture, the size of a silk weaver's house in the neighbourood.

"There is enough evidence to reconstruct the organ to the original 1735 plan with confidence."

But many of the 2,000 pipes now safely in storage with restoration experts in the West Country need to be reconstructed and all of them carefully restored. The bellows and pedal board also have to be rebuilt from scratch, while there is much intricate and decorative work to be undertaken such as gilding of pipes and re-crafting the 270-year-old keyboard

Half the £1m has already been pledged from around the world. But Friends of Christ Church need to raise the rest and are appealing for online contributions or for donations by post to Friends of Christ Church, Fornier Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6QE.

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