Churchgoers delight at ��m lottery grant to save 19th century organ

A historic organ in one of Islington’s most famous music venues is to be saved thanks to almost �500,000 of lottery money.

The Henry Willis organ at the Union Chapel, in Compton Avenue, was completed in 1887 and is the only fully intact hydraulic organ in the country.

But the instrument is in a poor state, and without major work the Grade I listed instrument would only have a couple of years of life left.

Now, its future is secure thanks to �470,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HFL) which will be used to repair the machinery, pipework and enclosure.

Philip Walker, chairman of Union Chapel project said: “We are thrilled, if not slightly overwhelmed, with the HLF grant which will go a long way towards fully restoring this fine and wonderful instrument which has loyally served and delighted generations of worshippers and concert-goers. We hope the restoration will continue and strengthen this happy tradition for generations to come.”