Friday, April 1, 2011

Great Britain: Westminster, London

Westminster Cathedral, featured on the 72p stamp is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. The edifice opened in 1903. The Grand Organ in the cathedral was begun by Willis in 1910. Only a portion of the envisioned instrument was completed at that time. It was only in 1920 that work recommenced, to reach a certain point in 1922. At the insistence of Marcel Dupre' who consulted on the instrument, the organ was placed in the west end of the cathedral. From 1922 Dupre' and other organ recitalists played to raise funds to complete the instrument. It was only in 1932 that the organ was finally "complete." the instrument was thoroughly cleaned in 1985 and work in 1996 (both jobs by Harrison and Harrison) made the Grand Organ playable from a second console (and independent instrument) in the east end apse. The stamp shows the east end of the cathedral. There is indeed an instrument in the apse, though one cannot see it depicted. The stamp image was likely shot from the west gallery which holds the Grand Organ itself.

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