Blackpool High Tide Organ

Coordinates: 53°47′35″N 3°03′29″W / 53.7931°N 3.0581°W / 53.7931; -3.0581
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Blackpool's High Tide Organ viewed from its side
Audio recording of the High Tide Organ

The High Tide Organ was a tidal organ 15 metres (49 ft 3 in) tall constructed in 2002 as part of "The Great Promenade Show" series of sculptures situated along Blackpool's New Promenade[1] in the UK. It was removed in early 2022. The artwork, described as a "musical manifestation of the sea", is one of a few examples of a tidal organ; others include the San Francisco Wave Organ[2] and the Sea Organ in Croatia.[3]


The sculpture was designed by the artists Liam Curtin[4] and John Gooding,[5] and was constructed in concrete, steel, zinc and copper sheet.[6] The harnessing of wave energy, and the sculpting of the concrete and metals, is said to produce a unique interpretation of Blackpool's natural and man-made environments.

The instrument is played by the sea at high tide through eight pipes attached to the sea wall. These are connected under the promenade to 18 organ pipes within the sculpture. The swell of seawater at high tide pushes air up the sea-wall pipes and causes the organ pipes to sound. The best time to hear the High Tide Organ is two to three hours before or after high tide. On very calm days the organ is silent for part of its cycle. The pitches of the pipes are based on the harmonic series in B flat.

The High Tide Organ is one of a small group of musical instruments that operate without further human intervention, among which the aeolian harp and the wind chime are the most notable.


In 2019, Curtin made an official complaint regarding the state of the instrument, alleging a lack of maintenance had caused safety concerns. After inspection, a health and safety surveyor determined that the instrument needed annual safety checks.

In 2021, Curtin called for the instrument to be demolished, stating that "For almost 20 years, I’ve been begging the council to maintain this and other works, in some cases for public safety reasons. I have even, at my own cost, done some maintenance on it myself."[7] The heavily corroded sculpture was removed in December 2021.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Art to listen out for". Blackpool Council. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  2. ^ San Francisco's Wave Organ Archived 2 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Crevar, Alex (6 July 2008). "After 2,000 Years, a Croatian Port Town Still Seduces". New York Times. Archived from the original on 7 July 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Artist's page for Blackpool High Tide Organ". Liam Curtin. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Investee and Award Directory". NESTA. Retrieved 16 April 2008.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Lancashire Evening Telegraph. (14 June 2002). New organ will be played by the sea Archived 5 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  7. ^ "Artist asks Blackpool council to demolish his seafront sculpture over safety fears | Blackpool". The Guardian. 6 June 2021.
  8. ^ Holmes, Wes (3 December 2021). "Tide Organ on Blackpool seafront to be pulled down due to safety concerns". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 11 June 2023.

External links[edit]

53°47′35″N 3°03′29″W / 53.7931°N 3.0581°W / 53.7931; -3.0581