Wolverhampton Civic Hall's historic organ is to be relocated and restored to it its former glory.

The City of Wolverhampton Council plans have been approved by Historic England following months of discussions about the best way to preserve the heritage of the organ that dates back to 1938.

The Grade II listed Civic Hall and Wulfrun Hall are undergoing a £14.4 million revamp to improve facilities.

The organ sits in the roof of the Civic Hall and needs to be removed to enable better ventilation for fire safety and to make adjustments to the stage area in order to attract bigger shows to the venue.

Renowned organ specialist and city organist, Steve Tovey, has been appointed to supervise the removal of the organ and find it a new location, with the hope it can remain in Wolverhampton.

Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: "The Civic Hall organ is of historical significance and no doubt brings back fond memories for Wolverhampton residents.

"We are delighted we have been able to find a solution that meets Historic England's requirements.

"The Civic Hall is a nationally recognised and popular venue among UK audiences and the entertainment industry, and attracts very large audiences.

"Increasing the size of the stage at the Civic Hall will enable it to accommodate bigger productions including tours which the region cannot currently attract.

"There is huge potential for attracting new audiences from across the West Midlands to live events and music, festivals, the arts, culture and night life.

"This in turn means even more visitors to Wolverhampton city centre and the wider sub region resulting in the creation of more jobs in the local economy."

The organ, built by British firm John Compton and Company, boasts 6,241 pipes, which range from one and a half inches to 16 feet in height and are similar to that of a church organ.

Tovey added: "I'm delighted I will be personally supervising the careful removal of this historical organ and ensuring it is safely stored until a suitable home can be found where it can be restored to its former glory."

The first enabling phases of the building works at the Civic Halls have now been completed, including structural surveys and other investigations, asbestos removal and the renewal of fire alarm and emergency lighting systems, to enable the halls to re-open temporarily from the beginning of next month.

Refurbishment work on the Civic Halls, including the removal of the organ, will continue in the New Year.

  • released: Thursday 22 September, 2016