Installed in Buckingham Town Hall by the Theatre Organ Preservation Society, this Wurlitzer opened in the early 1960's. It is the Wurlitzer from the Metropole Cinema, Victoria, London, plus various parts from several other cinema organs. With three manuals and ten ranks of pipes (Wurlitzer 3/10), this instrument provided several years of fine entertainment with many famous organists, until it was discovered that the power of the sound was liable to cause damage to the structure of the building.
This organ is no longer in Buckingham Town Hall, it is now in the Assembly Hall at Worthing and is owned by the Sussex Organ Society which is run by Jim Buckland who lives in Steyning just outside Worthing. The organ was removed from Buckingham Town Hall in 1981, it has now been extended and incorporates the ex Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer which was a 3/9.
Laurence James was well known in organ circles, and often played for the Cinema Organ Society and the Theatre Organ Club on various organs, plus giving Church organ recitals. He was born in London and first became a Church organist. He studied organ at Westminster Abbey with Dr. O. H. Peasgood; while Theatre organ tuition fell to the great Dudley Beaven. Laurence was the last resident organist at the Wurlitzer of the Tivoli cinema in London's Strand, and a regulat broadcaster on the B.B.C. Theatre Organ (Moller), also broadcasting from the famous Wurlitzer in the Granada at Tooting. Sadly, Laurence is no longer with us, he died at the console of the organ in the Gaumont, Hammersmith, when playing for the cinema Organ Society.
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