The most unusual pipe organs in the world

From ice rinks to shopping centres, we take you on a guided tour of some of the most surprising homes for pipe organs across the world

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Recently, Bristol property websites advertised the sale of a terraced house complete with four bedrooms, two reception rooms… and a fully operational, two-manual pipe organ.

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It’s not often that such large instruments are built into private residences, but it’s certainly not the only of its kind.

We reflected on other pipe organs that can be found in unlikely places…

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Clearly, anything Bristol can do, Birmingham can do bigger. Birmingham, Alabama, that is. If ever you are in the US city and get invited to tea at Barry Norris’s house, do ask if you can have a go on his five-manual, 11,200-pipe organ – not surprisingly, it’s the largest to be found in a private residence anywhere in the world.

Shoppers at Macy’s department store in Philadelphia, meanwhile, can enjoy the sound of the world’s biggest pipe organ full stop, an instrument whose six manuals and 28,750 pipes are given a run out twice a day, Monday to Saturday.

But should art and antiquities be more your thing, head back over the Atlantic to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, where Dalí paintings and diplodocus skeletons can be admired to the accompaniment of its impressive 3,000-piped beastie, installed by Lewis and co in 1901 and played regularly in recital.

Skaters and hockey fans at the Paramount Iceland ice rink in Los Angeles have enjoyed being serenaded by the 1,387 pipes of its Wurlitzer since 1941, a far superior option to the electric instruments found in similar venues elsewhere.

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