Chichester Cathedral's main organ is the only surviving example of an English Classical Cathedral Instrument. It is one of five working organs in the cathedral and dates back to 1678.
The oldest part of it - some of the pipes - was built as a one manual organ atop the Bell Arundel Screen by Renatus Harris. John Byfield added the Choir Organ in 1725 and Thomas Knight added the third (swell) keyboard in 1778. Further additions were made by George Pike England in 1806 and Henry Pilcher & Sons in 1829. In 1859 the organ builder William Hill moved the organ to its present location between The Choir and North Trancept. The magnificent double case was designed by Dr. Arthur Hill and incorporates some of the decorated display pipes from the 1678 organ.
The move was fortuitous as it saved the organ from serious damge when the tower and spire collapsed in 1861. However, there were then no funds for the organ and it wasn't 'till 1905 that Hele of Plymouth finnished the box and expanded the organ to its current format with 3 manuals and 35 stops. Hill did incorporate provision for a 4th manual, but this was never added.
The stops were converted to electric in the 50's but funds remained a problem and the organ fell into disuse owing to the failure of the electronics in 1972. Restoration began in 1984 when the organ was dismantled. it was reconstructed and reassembled during 1985. The structure, soundboards, action and winding were all replaced. The action is now tracker throughout, with no pneumatic or electrical assistance. The drawstops are also mechanical, but have additional electric solenoids to allow the provision of a full set of aids to registration.
It sounds terrific.