This wonderful Victorian instrument was built by Michel and Thynne for the 1885 Inventions Exhibition. The aim of the builders in this their ‘Model Organ’ was “an attempt to place in the hands of the player a grand and complete organ, reduced to the smallest possible dimensions as regards the number of slides (stops).” It was also exhibited at the Liverpool Exhibition the following year, where W.T. Best declared it to be “the finest organ of its kind that I have ever played upon”.
The Reverend C.W. Grove, a great benefactor to the Abbey, purchased it in 1887 and presented it to the Abbey to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It was placed in the north transept where it has remained ever since.
When the Milton Organ was rebuilt in 1948, it was planned also to restore and enlarge the Grove organ, making it playable from the Walker five-manual console. This scheme was not carried out, and eventually the organ was restored in 1980-81 by Messrs. Bishop and Son on ‘conservation’ lines, the only modification being the insertion of the five largest pedal pipes acquired from the old organ in Christ Church, Oxford. The re-opening recital was given by Dr Francis Jackson of York Minster.