It was actually earlier than 1963 that Ricky first brought home some of the Standaart from the Savoy – even if it was only the Toy Counter.
However, after winning the Hobbies Exhibition, Ricky contacted the Savoy’s new owners regarding the organ and was told he could remove the instrument as a whole. The next parts came from the Playhouse Cinema and finally in the winter of 1963-1964 the final parts were saved from the Pleasure Gardens Theatre and the long process of installation began.
James Bond House
Certain modifications had to be made to the house, some to accommodate the organ, others to improve family life. The below sections written by Ricky are taken from then March 1966 Cinema Organ Society Journal.
“I have to confess that when I knocked out the chimney breast-to make more space-I installed the organ console in its place! This gave me the opportunity of placing two concealed spot lights above which add a dash of glamour to the layout. The wall panel at the rear is also illuminated by coloured lighting.”
“While convincing my wife that the drawing-room floor needed attention I.craftily dug a pit six feet deep underneath in which to install the blower and a forty amp rectifier for the organ”
“My wife was overjoyed with the large picture window which I fitted in place of the former sash windows, but I spent more time on the three loudspeaker enclosures hidden below the generous windowsill.”
“The next big job that I tackled was one which really paid-off, although I must confess it did give me more than one moment of anxiety. I knocked down the dividing wall between two rooms, and after installing a steel girder I cut a slot in the ceiling close to the wall and then made what I can only describe as a cinema “Safety Curtain”. At the push of a button this timber, hardboard and steel wall section is raised out of sight into the room above by an electric motor. A false wall in the bedroom hides this however, along with the chunks of railway line which I fitted as counter weights. The idea works very well and my wife now calls this place the “James Bond house”
56 years after its construction and it still worked despite being stationary for many years
“When I started five years ago there wasn’t even a floorboard up there, but I covered three-quarters of the floor space and screwed each board in place, as nailing would have played havoc with the plaster ceilings. The chamber is only 8-ft. 6-in. square with 6-ft. 11-in. headroom at the highest point. The ceiling is packed with 2-in. thick blocks of “Jablite” heat insulation and covered with timber. The walls are also of timber, and filled with a 2-in. filling of sawdust.”
“The blower is homemade, and with a twelve-bladed impeller of twenty-inch diameter it produces upwards of 11-in. w.g. I will have to spend more time, however, experimenting to overcome noise, and furthermore, the load is too great for the one horsepower motor when run for more than ten minutes. I have written to several of the large blower firms for information regarding impeller size and design, but of course-this is a closed shop, so I am having to find out these things the hard way”
There were of course no video recorders in December 1964 when Southern TV broadcast this, but thankfully an off-air audio recording was made by Ricky. The recording includes both Ricky and Yvonne talking about the organ.