About the Rye Wurlitzer Organ

With many thanks to Wayne Ivany we have produced a potted history and some photos of past organists 

The organ was first installed in the PALACE THEATRE,  TOTTENHAM in 1925.

The Canadian Palace Theatre opened on August 31 1908 as a Variety Theatre.

It had already turned to Cine-Variety in 1924 and had been re-named the Canadian Cinema when it was acquired by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT) in 1925 and became a full time cinema. The name was changed back to ‘Palace’ in 1926.

The Kinematograph Weekly dated January 29 1925 announced that a model ‘D’ Wurlitzer had been ordered at an inclusive cost of £3,500. It was numbered 999 in the opus list, and it was shipped from the USA on February 21 1925.

Two boxes to the left of the proscenium were converted for use as organ chambers and the organ console was placed in the left-hand side of orchestra pit.

Jack Courtnay presided at the organ for its grand opening on April 6 1925, with Frank Matthew as assistant organist.

Subsequent organists included: Stanley Peters (1925), Charles Willis (1926), Leslie J Rogers (1926-1928), John Bennett (1931 – July 1933) and Allan Cornell.

The organ was offered for sale in 1957 and was acquired by the then Thomas Peacocke School in Rye on August 28 1957.

With the exception of the chimes, all percussions and traps disappeared whilst in storage elsewhere at Rye

The Palace closed as a cinema on June 28 1969 and was converted for Bingo use. The Palace still stands in Tottenham High Road and is currently used as a church.

For a more detailed history and pictures please go to http://www.ryewurlitzer.org.uk/history.html  

 designed and run by Glenn Twamley

Alan Cornell,
Stanley Peters
Jack Courtnay
Charles Willis
Charles Bennett
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Jack Courtnay