Pavilion, Bournemouth

The Pavilion, Westover Road, Bournemouth, BH1 2BU

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4/22 Compton

Bombarde, Trumpet, Tuba Horn, Diaphonic Diapason, Open Diapason, Diapason III, Tibia Clausa, Corno Di Bassetto, Oboe, Viole, Violoncello, Salicional, Celeste’s, Strings, Harmonic Flute, Concert Flute, Stopped Diapason/Stopped Flute, Vox Humana, Harmonics (4 Ranks)

A Number: A242 as of 1934 (A17 in 1929)

Current Transmission System: Sonic Services (Compton Relays)

Original Location: In Situ

Original Opening Date: 11th November 1929


The John Compton Organ Company were given the contract to build a Concert Organ able to play the most complex pieces of classical music to the latest “pop” music of the day. John Compton had already had some success with his installations in major Concert Halls and Churches throughout England. Two concrete chambers both 48 feet high were constructed either side of the proscenium arch to house the 1852 metal pipes, stacked on various levels in the chamber. At the top, a system of horizontal wooden shutters controls the volume of sound that bounces off the dome into the auditorium below.

1929: On 11th November the grand opening of the Concert Hall and the Compton took place in the presence of the Duke of Gloucester, Mayor and full Council. New Civic Organist Phillip Dore was at the console.

1932: Percy Whitlock appointed Civic organist.

1934: Organ re-built by Compton. Added Corno Di Bassetto and Concert Flute.

1946: Percy Whitlock passed very suddenly due to a stroke – Harold Coombs took over as organist.

1962: Harold Combs passed away – Pianist Reginald Hamilton-White from the Pavilion Ballroom band took over part time.

1978: Reginald Hamilton-White retried. The organ was in such a poor state of repair that it was virtually unplayable. A small group of volunteers, led by Christian Knighton, a young member of the stage crew, and Len Bailey, a local organist, took over the maintenance of the Compton. Every one of the 22 Ranks of pipes is working and the organ sounds exactly as it would have done in 1929. Both Chambers have been cleaned and painted, and modern lighting and communication have been fitted.

2005: The current builder is Tim Trenchard from Shillingstone, who does the tuning and repair work, with Phil Burbeck.

Chamber Layout

Chamber A – Right of Stage

– Top Level –

Diaphonic Diapason

Open Diapason I

Tuba Horn




Harmonic Flute

Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Sleigh Bells, Chimes

– Bottom Level –


Stopped Diapason/Stopped Flute

Harmonics (4 Ranks)

Chamber B – Left of Stage

– Top Level –

Tibia Clausa

Diapason III




– Middle Level –


Corno Di Bassetto

Vox Humana


– Mezzanine Level –

Concert Flute