Master's Reception: Tour of the Four Organs in St. Paul's Cathedral

Tuesday 28th May 2013

How many people know that there are four organs in St. Paul's Cathedral? I would have guessed at two, so when Assistant Chris Allen suggested the tour for my Master's Reception, I was intrigued. Some 50 Liverymen and our guests were given a private tour by Simon Johnson, the organist at St.Paul's. We started with the Chamber Organ and progressed via the OBE Chapel Organ and the 'Willis on Wheels' to the Grand Organ itself. Simon talked about their different characteristics and played a piece on all of them.

I've always been impressed by the sheer amount organists have to do. The Grand Organ has five keyboards and innumerable stops, not to mention the foot pedals mastered by Simon with the aid of ballroom dnacing shoes. The largest pipes are 32ft long and there are horizontal trumpet pipes above the West Door. Truly amazing.

We left St.Paul's to the sound of bells and were brilliantly looked after by the Paternoster Chop house with delicious wines, substantial canapes and a well appointed outdoor smoking area for those of our hardy Members and Guests who felt like braving the weather, comforted by a little touch of Armagnac in the dusk.