• Compton Theatre/Cinema Organ

    (2 images )
  • Compton Theatre/Cinema Organ

    (2 images )

LOT 85: Compton Theatre/Cinema Organ


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A 3 manual 13 rank Compton cinema organ ex Graham Whitehead at Napton Nickelodeon and afterwards at Ashorne Hall Warwickshire. This organ was new in 1933 and installed at the Granada, Hove. It was removed in 1936 and enlarged by its makers to 3 manual 13 rank. It was then installed at The Regal ,Hammersmith , London where it remained until 1947. In 1980 it was acquired by Graham Whitehead who again enlarged and overhauled it prior to installing it in his new village chapel venture "Napton Nickelodeon" where it was regularly played by organist Ken Stroud and by most of the other big name organists of the day with some of them still playing today. (Nicholas Martin, Robert Woolf, etc) The organ was particularly used to accompany silent movies and period news reels. and it was a great success. Graham moved his entire collection to Ashorne Hall near Warwick in 1989 and the Compton was re installed there, most of the work being done by Paul Camps with help from Graham. Following the sad and untimely death of Graham Whitehead in November 2003 everything was auctioned by Christies in March 2004. The Compton has been in good storage in Brussels ever since the farewell concert when it was in fine form and was played by Craig Boswell who had been resident organist at Ashorne Hall since it first opened. An amateur DVD of this farewell concert is available The chambers need to be approx 10 feet deep by 14 feet long each chamber by 12 feet high.
The blower would need a small house outside approx 8 feet by 8 feet by 9 feet high. This organ has the benefit of a modern midi play back and record system so it can be played even when no organist is available. The system might need some minor updating as it was installed 20 years ago and technology is continually advancing. The console and organists seat change colour from blue to green to yellow to red to violet, etc as the organ is being played.
Specialist installers who are both enthusiasts and professionals can be recommended. They work at modest rates.
The Compton was fully restored by Paul Camps for Whitehead all the internal motors were recovered with stock No. 50 from player piano inc. The material was 100% air tight and should still be so after all this time. . I remember the ranks as follows,
Tuba. 16,8,and 4
Tibia. 16, 8, 4 and 2
the above on 15" wind.
Muted Trumpet. 8 and 4
Vox 8 and 4
Clarinet. 8 and 4
Krummet 8 and 4
the above on 10" wind.
Diapason 16, 8 and 4
Cello 8 and 4
Strings 8and 4
Stpped flute ( metal ) 8, 4, and 2
Harmonic flute 8, 4, 2 and 1 3/5ths
the above on 10" wind.
Tibia 16 base was 6 notes polyphonic.
Diapason 16 was diaphonic 12 notes.
Harmonic flute 8 bass was shared with Tibia 8 bass

Xylophone 4
Clockenspiel 4
Chrysoglot 4
Full traps and toy counter.
Tuned sleigh bells.
all the above on 15" wind
Synth strings and brass.
Melotone 8, 4, 2, 1 3/5ths. 6 1/3rd Possibly not working due to age .
The blower is a 5 stage Discus unit of an old design which ran on bearings no longer in existence. There should have been two spares specially made as 4 sets were bought at the time two for installation and two as back up. The motor was a 5 HP Century for single or two phase electrical supply. there was a speck plate on the motor, most likely 110/220 vts parallel or series conection. We ran it on 240vt supply through a resistance start box inflated pneumaticaly via the blower as it came up to speed. There motor is of the repulsion induction type and I made new change over levers for it which worked perfectly. A 55amp dynamo was run off the side of the blower coupling as it was when originally installed. The original relays were also in perfect working order although after all this time they will require cleaning and resetting of the silver bars.
16 pipes were all mitred at foot end but the diaphone would need some clearance above to allow sound to come out. and the same for the tuba 16. BE

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