Skip Navigation

The Henry Willis Organ and The Organ Project

The Organ at the heart of Union Chapel

After extensive restoration works help us open up this world class instrument to the wider community and use it in new, innovative ways.

Donate to the Organ Project now at

Union Chapel is a Grade I listed building, a stunning example of Victorian Gothic architecture. The unusual octagonally shaped chapel was designed by James Cubitt and dedicated in December 1877. A few weeks later the new organ was inaugurated. Designed and built especially for this space by master organ builder Henry “Father” Willis, the Chapel’s organ is generally recognised as a world-class instrument and its role at the heart of the Chapel was widely celebrated. However over the years it gradually declined and became unreliable. Fortunately, with the support of a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the organ was fully repaired and restored in 2012-13 by Durham organ builders Harrison & Harrison and The Union Chapel Organ Project was launched.

The aim of The Organ Project is to make our Henry Willis Organ more accessible to our local community and beyond - through arts, music and education. Our goal is not only to honour the legacy of this very special instrument by keeping up a regular organ recital diary, but also to programme concerts right across the genre pool, breathing fresh life into the organ by having it performed in styles which have never previously been attempted on a mechanical organ. These concerts continue to demonstrate how versatile the organ can be and that it is not simply a church instrument, but in fact the world's first synthesizer which can be incorporated into most genres of music. 

This versatility is also reflected in our education strand for adults and children, which provides an opportunity for people to learn about the organ through their chosen art form. In 2015 we have workshops incorporating the organ in Computer Music Composition, Acoustic Composition, Science of Sound, Creative Writing and Physical Theatre. We are also running composition masterclasses with prolific organist Roger Williams for university students in London. 


Upcoming Events can be found on the Union Chapel events page

Join our mailing list for regular updates about upcoming events 

Contact us:

Music Director - Claire Singer

Administrator - Janet Gilbert

This work has been made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund who have granted us £470,00,  three quarters of the cost of restoring the organ & opening it up to the community.

We now face the massive task of raising around £160,000 in order to complete the work.

There are many ways in which you can help:


Give What You Can

Online through Just Giving

Or by sending a cheque made payable to 'Union Chapel Project' to Organ Restoration Project, Union Chapel, Compton Avenue, London, N1 2XD

Become a Member

A great way to support the all work of the Union Chapel 40% of the profit from membership goes to the Organ Restoration Project (the other 60% goes to Margins Homelessness Project

Regular Giving

Support us with regular donations via standing order, or by remembering us in your will; please contact us via email
or call 020 7704 9050 for more information.

Become A Friend

The Friends of Union Chapel help restore & preserve the Union Chapel by organising monthly work days where you can get stuck in with gardening, small restoration projects and many other activities.