OTHER THEATRE ORGANS I HAVE PLAYED - PAGE 1



Compton 4m / 19r ex Odeon, Southend. Now in the music room of a private residence in East Anglia.
Wurlitzer 3m / 19r ex Ritz, Luton. Was in the music room of a private residence in East Anglia and now in storage.
Wurlitzer 3m / 12r ex New Victoria, Bradford. Owned by the North East Theatre Organ Association and installed in Howden-le-Wear, Co. Durham. The New Victoria was a 3,500 seat cinema opened in 1930 with Leslie James at the organ. (Photograph courtesy NETOA).
Wurlitzer 2m / 8r New Gallery, Regents Street,London. One of the first Wurlitzer's to be installed in the UK (1925). I played it a few times in the 1980s but by then the building was used as a church. It had a beautiful sound that suited the acoustics.
Wurlitzer 2m / 6r ex Picture House, Walsall. Now in the Congregational Church, Beer, Devon.
Rutt 3m / 6r ex Regal, Highams Park. Built by R. Spurden Rutt & Co. of Leyton, London and installed in 1935. Removed in 1984 to the St. Albans Organ Museum. Ranks: Vox Humana, Tuba Horn, Viol, Tibia, Open Diapason and Concert Flute. The Great is a coupler only manuel.
Wurlitzer 4m / 16r State Theatre, Kilburn. The largest theatre in England seating over 4,000 and opened with Sidney Torch at the organ. The organ is still there but the theatre is now a Bingo and Social Club. The reeds really bark!
Allen Digital Theatre Organ. The next best thing to a pipe organ. This one was loaned for general playing at a COS Summer School.
Compton 2m / 6r Cameo Poly, Regents Street, London. The building hosted the first demonstration of cinema in the UK by the Lumiere Brothers and the organ was installed in 1937. The photograph, taken c1978, shows Philip and Alec (seated) Leader at the console. Thanks to Philip Leader.
Christie 3m / 12r Granada/Cannon/ABC, Walthamstow. A fine organ in its original location on a cinema stage. It was installed in 1930. The building now hosts multi-cinemas built under the circle although the old circle and front stalls (no seats) are the same as they were. This was the first theatre organ I played and it took a while to get used to the delay in hearing the sound. The photograph (courtesy TOC) shows Simon Gledhill at the console.
Christie 3m / 14r* ex Regent Cinema, Poole. Opened in 1931 with Jack Taylor as the organist. Originally a ten rank instrument it remained in service (first broadcast in 1946) until the cinema closed in 1968. After restoration and spending some time in a local hotel it was moved to its present home in the Woodlands Court Ballroom at the Sandford Park Holiday Centre. The photograph (courtesy Sandford Park) shows some of the pipe ranks. * Tuba, tibia clausa, flute, string, celeste, vox humana, clarinet, saxophone, diapason, diaphone, trumpet, English horn, krummet and tibia 2.
Compton 3m / 10r ex Forum Cinema, Southampton. Now in the music room of a private residence in East Anglia. The organ was made famous in many broadcasts by the resident organist, Reginal Porter-Brown.




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© 2000 - 2004 Chas Girdwood. All pictures by Chas Girdwood unless otherwise acknowledged.