In early 1983, a conversation took place between John Whiteley of the "Three J's" in Gomersal, West Yorkshire, and our now Honorary Chairman, Tony Byrne, about Tony's idea of bringing a theatre organ to Shropshire - previously never having had a permanent installation. The idea was raised again at a concert in March 1984 at the Centenary Theatre of Wrekin College when Phil Kelsall MBE played a Hammond electronic organ - Phil is now our president as invited by former chairman Ralph Bartlett who provided much support to the Trust in the early days. The enthusiasm for this concert led to a public meeting with view to launching a Trust and in June 1985 the Trust held the first of two launch concerts with David Ivory and Nigel Ogden.
In February 1986, the Shropshire Theatre Organ Trust came into being, now a registered charity no: 702934, and the search for a venue was on. The Buttermarket, Howard Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 2LF was chosen as being the most suitable and the late Kerry Wycherley, then owner, was a great supporter to the Trust and trustee and he sanctioned the balcony to be lower than was originally intended to house the 1936 Opus 2204 WurliTzer which was originally installed in The Ritz Cinema in Chatham, Kent. In 2000, two additional ranks of pipes were added at The Buttermarket (something which Harold Ramsay had wanted to do but funds did not permit): Kinura and English horn. There are 708 'speaking' pipes in total. The Trust was not able to acquire the original piano and so a Technics digital piano was purchased and added via MIDI and is up in the chambers and the speaker for this. The console is equipped with the rare mark I 'pillar and vase' design glass illuminated surround, which was manufactured by R R Beard (an English manufacturer) and a feature of only three WurliTzers which were originally shipped over from America. The others went to Aldershot and Barnsley. The late David Pawlyn carried out the installation at The Buttermarket in 1988. He had purchased and stored the WurliTzer since 1971 when it was removed from The Ritz Cinema when this closed and it later went over to bingo. The Trust was able to purchase the WurliTzer in July 1995.
There was a period from September 2010 until September 2013 when concerts were not able to take place when the venue was closed but it has now been superbly refurbished under new owner Martin Monahan, a very successful local businessman, who purchased The Buttermarket in the early part of 2012 and in the September of that year reopened it as a entertainments venue. In September 2013, the Trust had the reopening concert with a number of guest organists performing, including (in running order): Cameron Lloyd (made chairman of the Trust at our June 2018 AGM), Damon Willetts, David Lobban, Matthew Bason and Jean Martyn. In January 2014 was the 25th Anniversary for the WurlTtzer organ being at The Buttermarket when Nicholas Martin was guest organist. We had our first wedding where the organ was played at The Buttermarket on Saturday 26 September 2015. The organ and the Trust have been featured on BBC Radio Shropshire. We plan to hold more Open Console sessions in the future where people can have a go and our first Tea Dance was held on Sunday 6 March 2016. Concerts at The Buttermarket are typically held by the Trust on the third Sunday in the month with some seasonal exceptions, namely the August break for maintenance. Tickets £7 on admission (£6 for members) - from Sunday 27th September 2015 onwards concerts have started at the earlier time of 2.30pm (instead of 3.00pm) with doors opening at 1.30pm, concerts finishing at 5.00pm, which should suit patrons better who need to get an earlier train and as nights draw in. There is a raffle, sales table and light refreshments are available from The Buttermarket Team. Come and enjoy a couple of hours of wonderful entertainment with a variety of music, sounds and styles from some of the Country's top organists and what remains Shropshire's only theatre pipe organ installation in a public venue. The WurliTzer now requires no additional amplification with sound coming through the swell shutters, which have been described as 'dancing doors' and The Buttermarket is a nice intimate venue in which to enjoy a theatre organ concert, see the organist up close and enjoy a thoroughly good afternoon of entertainment.
Click on the map and drag around to get a better idea of where our venue is. You can also zoom in. Click on the marker to see address details.
|January 21st||Phil Kelsall|
|February 18th||Richard Hills|
|March 18th||Chris Powell|
|April 15th||Kevin Grunill B.A. (Hons)|
|May 20th||Phil Kelsall|
|July 15th||Cameron Lloyd (more details)|
Joint event - 2 organists
|September 16th||David Gray|
|October 21st||Simon Gledhill|
|November 18th||Stephen Austin|
|December 16th||Robert Wolfe|
|January 20th||Phil Kelsall|
|February 17th||Peter Jebson|
|March 17th||David Lobban|
|April 21st||Jean Martyn ATCL LGSM|
|May 19th||Phil Kelsall|
|June 16th||Nicholas Martin B.E.M.|
|July 21st||Cameron Lloyd|
|September 15th||Richard Hills|
|October 20th||Robert Wolfe|
|November 17th||Stephen Austin|
|December 15th||Chris Powell|