Assembly Hall, Worthing
The Assembly Hall, Stoke Abbott Road, Worthing, BN11 1HQ
Tuba Mirabilis, English Horn, Trumpet, Harmonic Tuba, Harmonic (Style D) Trumpet, Diaphonic Diapason, Horn Diapason, Tibia Clausa II, Tibia Clausa I, Krumet, Clarinet, Kinura, Orchestral Oboe, Saxophone, Viol d’Orchestre, Viol Celeste, Violin, Violin Celeste, Concert Flute, Concert Flute Celeste, Vox Humana II, Vox Humana I + Digital Piano
Opus Numbers: 2013 | 2037 | Console 2184
Model: Style Sp 3m
Current Transmission System: Solid State
Original Locations: The Metropole Cinema, Victoria, London | The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool | Troxy Theatre, Stepney London
Original Opening Dates: July 1935 | 1935 | 11th September 1933
The Worthing Wurlitzer started as a 3/10 instrument with pipework form the Metropole, Victoria and the Console from the Troxy, Stepney. In 1985 the Ex-Empress Ballroom, Blackpool was bought and used to enlarge the instrument.
History of Metropole, Victoria, London (Opus 2130)
1928: The Wurlitzer opened in Lorain-Fulton Theatre, Cleveland, OH as a two manual instrument.
1935: The Wurlitzer was bough to the UK and replaced a Standaart Organ. The Wurlitzer was given a new 3 manual coupler console (Augmented from the original Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer). In opened in June with Phil Park at the console.
1961: The Wurlitzer was removed. Most of the pipework was installed at Buckingham Town Hall under the direction of The Theatre Organ Preservation Society. The console was burnt.
History of Troxy Theatre, Stepney London (Opus 2184)
1933: On 11th September Troxy Theatre, Stepney London opened with Bobby Pagan at the Wurlitzer.
1961: The Wurlitzer was removed. The Saxophone & English Horn were removed by Les Rawle, Tibia, Flute, Vox Humana to D Hayes the rest went to church use. The console was installed at Buckingham Town Hall under the direction of The Theatre Organ Preservation Society.
History of Buckingham Town Hall
1963: On 1st May the Wurlitzer opened with Robison Cleaver, William Davies & Jackie Brown at the console.
During the Wurlitzer time at Buckingham the following were removed: Kinura to H Cantrill and Clarinet to D Hayes. These were replaced by a Saxophone from the Gaumont Theatre, Watford and a Krumet from the Regent Theatre, Stamford Hill, London.
1974: On 30th June the Wurlitzer played its last concert in the Town Hall with David Ivory and George Welling at the console. The Hall was condemned and all events stopped.
History of the Worthing Wurlitzer (Part 1)
1975: Ralph Bartlett approached Jim Buckland and asked if he wanted a Wurlitzer. He accepted and formed the Sussex Theatre Organ Trust
1977-1981: The Wurlitzer was removed to a chapel in Worthing. Much work needed to be done to the Wurlitzer and the opportunity was taken to modernise the relay with a solid state one.
1981: On 24th May the Wurlitzer was reopened with George Blackmore, Bobby Pagan and Ernest Broadbent at the console.
The prevision of a Tuba Mirabilis was made, but this was never initially installed.
c1983: It was apparent the current organ was not big enough. A second chamber was build on the opposite side of the stage and was initially there to house a few percussions.
1985: A number of tonal adjustments to the Wurlitzer were done by Lyn Larsen.
The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool (Opus 2037)
1929: The Wurlitzer started life as a 2/10 instrument in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool.
1935: Blackpool’s star organist Reginald Dixon wanted a new Wurlitzer in the Tower. The original 10 ranks were moved round the corner to the Empress Ballroom where it gained a Tibia II, Kinura and English Horn. It also gained a new three manual console (The original was augmented to three manuals and installed in the Metropole, Victoria)
1969: A re-development of the Empress Ballroom stage meant the organ could no longer be accommodated. The the resident organist Ernest Broadbent drew up plans for the console to be moved to one of the balconies, however this was not successful. The Wurlitzer was sold to the BBC who decided to install it in their Playhouse Studios, Hulme, Manchester. The removal and installation was carried out by W Walker and Sons.
1970: On 9th November the Wurlitzer was reopened with a gala concert featuring Reginald Porter-Brown, Ernest Broadbent, Robin Richmond & Reginald Dixon.
History of the Worthing Wurlitzer (Part 2)
1985: The BBC Theatre Organ was up for sale and Jim Buckland bought it and used the material to extend the current Wurlitzer. The initial plan was to have both consoles playing one organ so the Empress Wurlitzer could be played as a complete instrument – This project never happened.
1985-1997: The additions were prepared and installed. A new horseshoe for the Wurlitzer was built from scratch by Jim Buckland.
1997: On 23rd The new Worthing Wurlitzer was re-opened at 22 ranks with Nigel Ogden, Simon Gledhill, Iain Flitcroft and Robin Richmond at the console.
2002 & 2003 saw Lyn Larsen, Terry Kleven & Bob Swaney over from the USA to do much needed total work on the Wurlitzer. This involved swapping ranks of pipes around in the chambers.
Genealogy & Chamber Layout
MAIN CHAMBER (Right of Stage)
Harmonic Tuba – Metropole, Victoria
Trumpet – Kimball
Diaphonic Diapason – Metropole, Victoria
Tibia Clausa II – George Wright Robert Morton
Clarinet – Granada Wandsworth Rd
Violin – Metropole, Victoria
Violin Celeste – Metropole, Victoria
Concert Flute – Metropole, Victoria
Concert Flute Celeste – Empress Ballroom
Vox Humana II – Metropole, Victoria
Xylophone – Metropole, Victoria
Glockenspiel – Metropole, Victoria
Chrysoglott – Ritz Nottingham Conacher
Sleigh Bells – Metropole, Victoria
Chimes – Metropole, Victoria
Toy Counter – Metropole, Victoria
SOLO CHAMBER (Left of Stage)
Tuba Mirabilis – Empress Ballroom
English Horn – Empress Ballroom
Harmonic Style D Trumpet – George Wright Wurlitzer
Horn Diapason – Wurlitzer
Tibia Clausa I – Empress Ballroom
Krumet – Empress Ballroom
Saxophone – Gaumont Holloway (Possibly)
Kinura – Empress Ballroom
Orchestral Oboe – Empress Ballroom
Viol d’Orchestre – Empress Ballroom
Viol Celeste – Empress Ballroom
Vox Humana I – Empress Ballroom
Harp – Allen MDS
Piano – Roland P330
Vibraharp – Korg X5DR
The USA additions are from the following;
Kimball, The Kimball Demonstration Organ, Chicago, U.S.A.
Wurlitzer, The George Wright Studio Organ, Pasadena, U.S.A.
Robert Morton, George Wright Hollywood Philharmonic Organ, U.S.A.