|The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust|
Theatre Organ Heritage Centre and Museum
Since its foundation the Trust has had the dream of acquiring its own building and headquarters.
After many years of searching, and viewing of over 120 possibilities to no avail, it came to our notice that there was a possibility of purchasing a disused Sunday school annexed in Peel Green, Eccles. The building had been put on the market and the Church had received offers from builders hoping to replace the building with houses. However, the Church had a fondness for the building and were interested in an offer from the Trust, who proposed retaining and refurbishing the building to house an organ and museum. After negotiations with Church elders, the building was eventually purchased by the Trust.
The building which now houses the Heritage Centre and Museum was originally built as an annex to the Patricroft Methodist Sunday School, the foundation stone being laid on 30th November 1907. After many years, the building became used as a store for the Sunday School and eventually fell into disuse.
After much negotiation, work finally commenced in March 2003 to make basic repairs to the building to bring it up to standard. Windows and doors were replaced, the roof repaired and the outside drainage much improved. A new staircase was built, a new kitchen installed, work done to dry the basement was successful and the original woodblock floors were renovated. Last, but not least, the Wurlitzer organ was installed in purpose-built chambers. And is now presented to the public in the lovely 1920’s style theatre which seats 83 patrons.
Finally, after over 15000 hours of hard work, the building has been transformed into what you see before you today.
The Heritage Centre is unique in being the only one of its kind in the world, devoted to the history of the Theatre Organ, where schools and the general public can go and play an authentic theatre organ.
In addition to the installation of a theatre organ, the Centre houses the world’s first museum dedicated to “the father of the Wurlitzer”, Robert Hope-Jones, along with artifacts from other British theatre organ manufactures.
Activities in the Centre will include theatre organ concerts, interactive talks on the history and use of theatre organs and work with the local Education Authority to provide facilities where students can be trained in both the technical and musical aspects of the theatre organ.
Additionally, the organ is available for private practice and the facilities of the Heritage Centre are available to anyone having an interest in Cinema/Theatre and theatre organs. Presentations and tours can be arranged for societies, clubs, W.I., Rotary, Schools, etc. Please click on link below.
The Heritage Centre is open each Wednesday for the weekly lunchtime concerts, Friday and on the first Saturday of each month 11-00am to 3-00pm. Additional openings and events are listed on the separate leaflet, or from the web site. Bookings manager, Roger Fisher - 0161-317-9469. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Centre also has full audiovisual facilities for the introduction of silent films.
After 20 years in storage, and after many costly fruitless attempts to house the ex Davenport, Compton Theatre Pipe Organ, following a full restoration and refurbishment the Compton has now been installed in the Heritage Centre. After much consultation and major structural alterations to house the Compton, work commenced in the first half of 2017. The chambers were enlarged and the whole stage area was transformed to accommodate both consoles on the platform. The completed project was featured in the Trust's 50th Anniversary Celebration in July 2018.01