Wednesday, 3 October 2012
I have mentioned the Wurlitzer organ in Saltaire's Victoria Hall on this blog before (see here). I just happened to be in the Hall when they were demonstrating the hydraulic mechanism that lifts the organ up through the stage, in the time-honoured tradition. Ta dah! The gentleman sitting there wasn't actually playing it at the time, although there was a concert scheduled for later in the afternoon. (I don't know if he was the organist, Howard Beaumont; they always dress up in smart suits when they're playing concerts.)
The organ is a Wurlitzer Opus 2208 and was originally installed in the Gaumont Cinema in Oldham from 1937 to 1961. These instruments used to provide the accompaniment to those wonderful silent films and they have a very unique sound. It was bought by the Cinema Organ Society when the Gaumont closed and has had several homes since then, eventually being installed in Saltaire a few years ago. The Cinema Organ Society sponsors regular concerts and tea dances and I think it's a lovely addition to Saltaire's heritage.
There are several videos on Youtube of similar organs being played - try this if you're interested.