Harrison & Harrison

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New organ at St David's Cathedral built by Harrison & Harrison in 2000. Although the organ comprises some stops from the 1883 Willis organ, the casework and the action are new. Photograph Copyright 2009 Harrison & Harrison

Harrison & Harrison Ltd are a British company that make and restore pipe organs, based in Durham and established in 1861. They are well known for their work on instruments such as King's College Cambridge, Westminster Abbey and the Royal Festival Hall.

History of the firm

Thomas Harrison established an organ building company in 1861 in Rochdale, then moved to Durham in 1872. The company was moderately successful but did not achieve real success until 1896 when Thomas's sons Arthur and Harry took over. Harry designed the organs and Arthur proved to be a particularly gifted voicer, resulting in commissions for rebuilds of several great organs including Durham Cathedral, the Grand Organ at the Royal Albert Hall and new commissions including Westminster Abbey.

Arthur Harrison died in 1936 and Harry retired in 1946. The company passed to Harry's son Cuthbert. The firm was led by Mark Venning from 1975-2011, and he was succeeded as Managing Director by Dr Christopher Batchelor in 2011.

In the postwar period Harrisons contributed significantly to the renaissance of classical organ building; their instruments for the Royal Festival Hall (designed in close collaboration with Ralph Downes) and St Albans Abbey (for Peter Hurford) are of particular importance.

A history of the firm titled 'The Harrison Story' was published in 1974 by Laurence Elvin

Some Harrison & Harrison Organs


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