St. Mary Magdalen’s Roman Catholic Church has been presented with a certificate to honour its historic 19th century organ, awarding it a prestigious Grade II listing.
The British Institute of Organ Studies marked the organ’s importance to national heritage, which has been a faithful servant to the parish for 75 years.
The church itself, on Peter Avenue behind Willesden’s High Road, was opened in 1939 to cater to the growing Irish Roman Catholic community in the area and has been home to a vibrant congregation ever since.
A Historic Organ Certificate recognises the importance of the instrument to the national heritage and secures its preservation for future generations in a time when more and more organs are being phased out of churches.
Paul Joslin of BIOS presented the certificate to parish priest Fr. Kevin Jordan and the church’s choir at a ceremony after New Year’s Day Midday Mass on January 1.
The organ, consisting of two manuals and pedals, was built in 1872 by the renowned London-based firm Bishop and Starr. It was installed in St Mary Magdalen’s in 1939 and has been in continual use in divine worship ever since – remarkably never undergoing modification or refit.
Organist John Gallagher said: “The fact that the organ still performs so beautifully today is a testament to the great Victorian craftsmen who built it, and this is recognised by the award along with its value to the nation’s sacred musical heritage.”