Congregational Church, Beer

6 Fore Street, Beer, Seaton, EX12 3JG

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2/6 Wurlitzer

Style D Trumpet, Open Diapason, Tibia Clauasa, Salicional, Flute, Vox Humana

Opus Number: 956

Model: Style D

Current Transmission System: Solid State

Original Location: Picture House, Walsall

Original Opening Date: 26th January 1925


1925: The Picture House, Walsall opened on 26th January with Jack Courtney accompanying the film ‘Claude Duval’ starring Fay Compton and Nigel Barrie.

1955: Cinemascope was installed at the Picture House. Due to the extra space required to install all this new equipment the cinema sold the Wurlitzer to Allan Hickling, who installed it at his home – Dormston House in Sedgley. Installation was complete in time for christmas.

1957: Alan was looking for a larger Wurlitzer so sold the Wurlitzer to fellow enthusiast, Arthur Thorn of Beer in Devon. Plans were made and executed to have it installed at the Congregational Church in Beer. As it was intended that the organ was to be for church use, all of its cinematic effects & second touch were removed. The Sweetland Organ Company of Bath installed the Wurlitzer.

1987: The Wurlitzer had fallen into a state of disrepair. A couple of members of the Cinema Organ Society carried out what repairs they could to keep the Wurlitzer playing.

1998: The Wurlitzer was again becoming unreliable. Local organ builder Michael Farley was contracted to look after the instrument for the next few years.

2008-2010: It was decided to return the historic instrument to its former glory. A society was formed to raise funds to be able to achieve this. The Wurlitzer was soon in receipt of some of its missing percussion items. Since then a Wurlitzer shutter action has been installed to replace the mechanical system originally put into the church, the Second Touch facility has been reinstated, and most of the instrument has been rewired to replace the aged and failing original wiring.