A little more on this here.
Following my 2009 contact with Hall Place Museum (see original post), I was delighted to get the following in my HoLMail this afternoon from newish member Richard Hadingham (and reproduced with Richard's permission). Having picked up the details from this post, Richard has followed up and is determined to rescue the organ.:
I have just spoken with the Curator of Hall Place House, Bexley, regarding the Rest Cartwright cinema organ ex-Coliseum, Harringay, and was delighted, not to mention very relieved, to learn that it is still in existence and (relatively) safely in store there. I was told, however, that the instrument does not fit in with their current collections policy and that they are ultimately looking towards re-housing it, preferably to another Museum.
Perhaps rather rashly I have offered to assist in any way I can, for which they appeared to be very grateful. I do have a couple of possibilities in mind, so we will have to see what transpires. I will, of course, keep you informed of any further developments.
P.S. So far as I can ascertain, Rest Cartwright built four other cinema/theatre organs besides the Coliseum instrument: The Grand Kinema, Edgware Road, London; Terry's Theatre Cinema, Strand, W.C.; Putney Bridge Cinema and Putney Cinema, Upper Richmond Road. It is highly unlikely that any of these have survived, thereby making the ex-Coliseum instrument doubly unique, being also the first ever cinema organ to be installed in the UK.
For those who would like to experience the thrill and drama of a state-of-the-art Wurlitzer cinema organ in a large original super-cinema building, there is an exciting weekend of events happening at the Troxy next month:
Thanks John. I've flagged up those events in a new post. (And thanks to Mick for stirring the pot!)
I am surprised I know nothing of Rest Cartwright and this organ. As a relative of Felix Aprahamian I always thought I was well informed.
My question is this, Is this a cinema organ, or a church organ that ended up in a cinema. They are different things. Was it voiced like a Wurlitzer or Christie? The pipes are very different in these organs. A straight church organ does not work well in the cinema.
It would have been a church type instrument. Many early cinemas had straight organs installed before the advent of the cinema (theatre) organ as we know it. The first organ in a cinema that was recognisably theatrical was probably the Compton in the Shepherds Bush Pavilion (1923). The first Wurlitzers began to be shipped over here from the USA in 1924-5, and the first Christie theatre organ dated from 1926. The most recent Wurlitzer to be (re-)installed is the largest ever to be imported into Europe, originally installed in the Trocadero, Elephant and Castle, re-installed as a slightly enlarged instrument in August 2015 in the Troxy, Limehouse.
Hello Mr Leeming. Good to hear from you.
Yes that is the story I heard, that it was a regular church organ pressed into service in the cinema.
I had a connection through my family to Mr Norman of Hill, Norman and Beard, makers of the Christie cinema organs, who had premises on Hornsey High St. I went there for a job interview but by that time (maybe 1965) business was so minimal that they could not offer me anything.
Pictures of the Coliseum organ along with other Rest Cartwright ephemera here
I wonder if this organ is still at Hall Place 8 years on?