Richard Hills at
Burtey Fen Collection
After 28 years of service we have learned that the Portslade Compton/Christie organ is to be removed from its home. The last concert was recently given by John Mann on Sunday 13th November. It is our understanding the instrument will be moved to an as yet undisclosed location. We are also told it is hoped the instrument will remain in Sussex.
The organ was originally based in the Queens Cinema, Cricklewood and was bought in the 80's by David Houlgate and Michael Maine. A year later, David purchased the nine rank Compton organ, formerly in the Regal (ABC) Cinema, Ilford (then at Finchley Methodist Church). Move on another year and the ten rank Christie organ, formerly in the Castle Cinema Mertha Tydfil, (which had been in store for 30 years) was also acquired.
Through the good services of Councillor Baron Sanders of Hove, Portslade Town Hall was put forward as a new home and indeed proved an ideal site for the installation of the three organs. David Houlgate commenced the mammoth task of installing the best of the three organs as one instrument, with the assistance of a devoted band of enthusiasts, in May 1987. The pipework and traps are installed in three chambers the full width of the hall, over the stage area, main chamber on the left, solo chamber on the right and the percussion in the centre, behind the blue curtains in the centre of the old organ screen, containing dummy pipes.
We hope it will not be long before the instrument sings again!
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