Organs in one form or another have been present in the cathedral since medieval times. Visitors often query the apparent absence of main organ pipes on view in the cathedral today. Others ask why they cannot see where the organist sits. What follows is a brief summary of the current organ arrangements. The current organ, rebuilt in 1978 by the specialist firm Noel Mander, operates from a modern console situated above the pulpitum screen, just visible from the choir. It has three manuals and 54 'speaking stops' or sounds. Many of its larger pipes are sited in the choir south triforium, out of site to visitors. In 1980 a small set of pipes was added to the north wall of the nave, to improve the overall sound for listeners in the nave. The organist can chose to play through the main pipes, the nave pipes, or both.
What to see:
the organist just visible from the choir (Image 1)
a view from above, not normally available to visitors, gives some indication of the layout (Image 2)
the new pipes on the nave north wall (centre of Image 3)
list of organists 1407 to date - the current cathedral organist is Dr David Flood who has held the post since 1988 (Image 4)
Sources: Huitson, Toby (nd) The organs of Canterbury cathedral (Cathedral Enterprises)