The mighty Compton 3/9 installed at Ryhope Community Centre, Sunderland SR2 0RX

OrganFax Directory

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society

Telephone Number :  0191 5145234   or   0191 5226751

Email address :

Contact name :  Keith Potts

Venue address : Ryhope Community Centre, Black Road, Ryhope, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR2 0RX

About Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society


The Mighty Sunderland Compton Theatre Organ.

The organ built by the John Compton Company in 1932 for the Black's Regal Cinema later known as the Odeon.  It was installed and ready for the opening of the cinema on Easter Monday, March 28th of that year.  The resident organist was Mr J Arnold Eagle who played for the opening, along with his orchestra and supporting acts.

Over the years, the organ fell into disuse so a society was formed in 1975 at the suggestion of the then manager of the theatre, the late Mr. Ray Cook to look after the organ with view to getting it into playing condition again.

The Society, over the years at the Odeon, engaged several well-known organists including Reginald Dixon (on two occasions), Ron Curtis, Doreen Chadwick and Ripon Cathedral organist the late Ron Perrin and his choir.

When word came through that the cinema was going to be turned into a Bingo hall, the organ was finally purchased and removed from the Odeon Cinema by the society in July 1982.   After it was removed, it went into storage for quite a few years while a suitable home was found for it.  Eventually, one was found at Ryhope Community Centre.  It was "switched on" by the Mayor on the 28th of March 1992 exactly 60 years from the original opening day.

Recently thanks to a grant given by Grass Roots. Work has been carried out by professional organ builders. This meant removing and cleaning the pipes, replacing the cleaned pipes, tonal regulation, this balances the sound of the organ to the hall and finally the organ wa tuned.


The organ has nine ranks of pipes which are installed in two chambers located at the back of the stage and playable from the three-manual console front of stage.


Main Chamber (Left)                        Solo Chamber (Right)

1. Diapason.                                      6. Tibia.

2. Trumpet.                                       7. Tuba.

3. Violin.                                            8. Vox Humana.

4. Violin Celeste.                              9. Clarinet.

5. Flute.

The console has three manuals of 61 notes each, a full pedal bord,139 stops and 13 toe pistons controlling special effects such as bird whistle, siren, engine, drum roll and grand crash.

It also has all the usual traps which include:-

Bass drum, Chinese block, Glockenspiel, Snare drum, Cymbal crash, Triangle, Chimes, Carillon, Sleigh bells, Chrysoglott, Tolling bell, Tom-tom, Xylophone, Orchestral bells, and Vibraphone.


Cymbal Roll, Aeroplane, Surf and Birds.


Doors open at 2pm, for 2.30pm start

Entrance fee £5.00 (£2.50 students) including refreshments (tea/coffee and biscuits).




Our Venue

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.

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society's Photo Gallery

The mighty Compton 3/9 installed at Ryhope Community Centre, Sunderland SR2 0RX The interior of the Black's Regal/Odeon with the mighty Compton Organ. The Odeon Cinema frontage in the 1980's Reg. Dixon at the Compton in 1977. Damon Willetts at the John Compton 3/9 organ. Guest organist Jess Yates at the console a few months before closure. Cinema closure in 1982 and the Compton Organ removal team. The Compton leaves the cinema by a side door to go into storage. Ryhope favourite Cameron Lloyd at the console. Opening concert in 1992 with the Compton in its new venue Ryhope Community Centre, Black Road, Ryhope Village, Sunderland SR2 0RX. Ever popular Elizabeth Harrison a regular at Ryhope. Concert at Ryhope, featuring Andrew Nix and Tony Stace. The much missed Carlo Curley at the Ryhope Compton

Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society's Concert Diary

February 24thCameron Lloyd
March 24thHoward Beaumont (more details)

Last concert presented by the Society