What is a Cinema Organ?

These instruments made quite a name for themselves throughout the 1920s & 30s as they appeared in the major picture houses of UK cities. Their purpose – to begin with – was to replace the too-quiet pianists and the too-expensive orchestras of cinemas in the accompaniment of silent films. Therefore, they were equipped to produce hauntingly similar sounds that an orchestra might produce, as well as many novelty sound effects to compliment the action on-screen. Sadly, as the grand picture palaces of this era were closed, repurposed or demolished, many of the organs too fell into disrepair. It was the work of committed volunteers who saved only a comparative handful of these instruments from scrap heaps, and gave them new leases of life in new venues. Today, there are dozens of instruments across the UK in locations such as town halls, vintage cinemas, private residences, purpose-built venues and even golf courses!