The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust was
formed in October 1968, by a small group of enthusiasts who met to
discuss ways to preserve the 4/20 Wurlitzer pipe organ in the
Odeon Theatre, formerly the Paramount Theatre, in Manchester.
During the years that followed regular concerts and shows were
presented at the Odeon and also at the Gaumont, with its 4/14
Wurlitzer, featuring famous British and overseas artists,
The LTOT produced over 24 LPs during this period
and launched the career of many a young organist, including Nigel
Ogden and David Shepherd.
The spring of 1971 saw the acceptance of Farny
Wurlitzer of the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in the USA and Richard
Simonton in the roles of Vice Presidents of the Trust.
The final concert featuring the Wurlitzer at the
Odeon was on Sunday the 8th. of July 1973.
Fund raising concerts
were continuing across the road in the Gaumont Theatre, but its
future was short lived, for it was announced that the Gaumont
would close and be demolished.
The Trust decided that it would put
in a bid for the Organ, which was subsequently accepted. The
closing concert at the Gaumont was the 27th. of January 1974. Not
only did the Trust now have two Wurlitzers, but it had also
rescued the Christie organ from the Pyramid/Odeon, Sale and was
involved in the restoration of the Willis Organ at Tatton Park,
In 1977 the ex. Odeon Wurlitzer was opened in the
Free Trade Hall, Manchester, where it remained until 1997, when it
was decided that the Free Trade Hall was to be demolished behind
its original façade and be developed into a luxury hotel. During
this time the Wurlitzer was featured by many organists from the
US, Australia, and Europe. It has been broadcast many times, and
the Trust continued its production of LPs,
cassettes and CDs, on this instrument right up to
the removal date in 1997.
We are pleased that this fine 4/20
Wurlitzer is now installed in the Great Hall of Stockport Town
Hall, opened in November 1999, some 4 miles from Manchester City
Centre, where its popularity goes from strength to strength.
The ex. Gaumont Wurlitzer was for eight years
installed in the Baronial Hall, of Granada Studios Tour,
Manchester, where it was featured most days of the week to the
visitors on the Tour and also for the Trust’s bi-monthly shows.
The installation at this venue was a great success.
Following the closure of the Granada Studios Tour,
the Wurlitzer was removed and placed in storage for seven years.
The Organ has now
been sold to Folly Farm, a major leisure complex in South Wales.
The organ has been installed in record time and was opened by John
Mann on Saturday 2nd May 2009. It is reported that the
installation is a great success and acclaimed by those at the
The ex. Odeon, Sale Christie was placed in the
Assembly Hall, of the Blue Coat School, Oldham, Lancashire in 1982. In 2008 the school requested that the organ be removed. This
was done in October 2008, the organ has been donated to the Lowe
Side Trust, St Helens, where it is undergoing complete
refurbishment ready for installation into St. Mary's Church.
In 1997 the Trust managed, at the eleventh hour,
to rescue the 3/6 Compton from the Davenport Theatre, Stockport.
This organ has been donated to the Davenport Theatre Organ Trust
and is currently undergoing complete refurbishment ready for
installation in Bollington, Cheshire.
The Trust, in 2002, made the decision to purchase
a disused Sunday School in Peel Green, Eccles, Salford.
a tremendous amount of hard work by volunteers has transformed
this building into the very first Theatre Organ Heritage Centre
and Museum in the UK.
This Heritage Centre, with it’s theatre
style auditorium which will seat 80 patrons, and houses one of the
very first Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organs to be installed in this
country, the 2 manual 6 rank pipe organ originally installed in
the Trocadero Theatre, Liverpool, and later in the Gaumont Cinema,
The facilities at the Heritage Centre
are now available to anyone having an interest in the Cinema,
Theatre and Theatre Organs.
Presentations and tours can be
arranged for Societies, Clubs, W.I., Rotary, Schools etc., plus
the opportunity to have hands on experience of playing a Wurlitzer
Weekly programmes featuring the Wurlitzer are
presented every Wednesday at 1-00pm.
The Heritage Centre is open
on Wednesdays, (concert day), Fridays and the first Saturday in each
month, 11-00am to 3-00pm.. Opening times for other activities as indicated on
our separate leaflets, web page, or contact, Roger Fisher on
0161-792- 1836, e-mail, email@example.com
The Trust is a registered charity. All it's
officers and officials offer their time freely and voluntarily.
Please help us to continue to be at the very forefront of Theatre
Organ Preservation world-wide, by becoming a member, supporting
our presentations, giving practical help if possible and by making
direct donations or donations through the Gift Aid scheme.
More information on our Sales Items, Souvenirs,
Concert Information, including activities at the Heritage Centre
is available on this Web site
"Vox Lancastria" is the official journal of the
Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust.
There are two editions per year with articles and reports on the
activities of the Trust and the world of the theatre organ.
Click on Vox to view issue 26 - (Click
Back Arrow to return)
LTOT Newsletter The Trust also distributes four newsletters per year keeping you
up to date with the latest advance notice of concerts and
on Newsletter to view issue 3 - (Click Back Arrow to return)