Pipe organs of Blenheim Palace

Pipe organs of Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, is home to two 19th century pipe organs.

Long Library organ

The Long Library organ was built in 1891 by the famous London firm of Henry Willis & Sons at a cost of £3,669. Originally erected in the central bay, with its back to the water terraces, the Norwich firm of Norman & Beard moved it to the North-Western end of the library in 1902 and made a few tonal additions and, the following year, cleaned it. No further changes were made until 1930, when the original firm lowered the pitch to modern concert pitch: a Welte automatic player was added in 1931, with 70 rolls cut by Marcel Dupré, Joseph Bonnet, Alfred Hollins, Edwin Lemare and Goss Custard also being supplied. This remained in use for some time: it became common practice for the Duke of the time to sit at the organ bench and 'play the organ' to his guests and they would applaud at the end. This practice was brought to an abrupt halt when the player started before the Duke had reached the organ! The instrument is regularly maintained and now, thanks to the efforts of the current underbutler, Stephen Duckett, is played every day.

The chapel organ

The chapel organ was built in approximately 1853 by Postill of York.


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