History of the Trust

The 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 Wurlitzer’s, but it had also rescued the Christie organ from the Pyramid/Odeon in Sale and was involved in the restoration of the Willis Organ at Tatton Park, Knutsford.

In 1977 the ex Odeon Wurlitzer was opened in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, where it remained until 1997. It was then 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 on bothradio and television. 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.

The ex Gaumont Wurlitzer was for eight years installed in the Baronial Hall, of Granada Studios Tour, Manchester. 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 in 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.

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 Lowehouse Trust, St Helens, The organ, complete with both consoles has been completely refurbished and is now installed in St Mary’s Church, Lowe House, St Helen’s. A fantastic installation acclaimed by many.  The Christie was featured as part of the Lancastrian Theater Organ Trust’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2018.

In 1997 the Trust managed to rescue the 3/6 Compton from the Davenport Theatre in Stockport. After many years of unsuccessfully finding a home for the Compton, The Trustees of the LTOT made the decision to install the Compton, alongside the 2/6 Wurlitzer in the LTOT Theater Organ Heritage Centre and Museum.

In 2002 the Trust made the decision to purchase a disused Sunday School in Peel Green, Eccles, Salford. Since then 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, Dingle, Liverpool. 

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 and Compton Theatre Organ.

Weekly programmes featuring the Wurlitzer and Compton 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 07904 480527 e-mail, rcfgromit@btinternet.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

We hope you enjoy browsing through our Website and find something of interest. The preservation of these fine examples of our Theatre Organ Heritage, is well worth supporting.