Being involved with the newly installed Empress Ballroom organ in Blackpool, I find it sad there is so little documentation of the original organ installed by Clegg and its subsequent rebuild by Cookson under the direction of G.T Pattman in 1924. All there seems to be is a specification on NPOR, and some information a trusted source managed to dig out of his extensive archive which was all hand written copied information from newspaper accounts of the time. I've pieced together what I've managed to find out below.
The first pipe organ in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, was originally a travelling organ built by an unknown Blackburn firm for David Clegg. It was installed in the Winter Garden's Indian Lounge (now gone, the space it was is now known as the Arena) in the first half of 1913, The Blackpool Herald, dated Tuesday 17 June 1913, lists David Clegg and his Military Band Organ in the Indian Lounge twice daily and Sundays at 8pm. It had eight manuals, not all of which were full compass, and they controlled the various divisions and effects of the organ.
Over the summer season of 1913 the recitals on the organ grew in popularity and by October/November of that year, the organ was relocated from the Indian Lounge, next door, to the upper east balcony of the Empress Ballroom. David Clegg delivered the opening recital on the 12th of November and continued playing it for recitals, dances, and silent picture/film accompaniment right up till his death on the 31st of October 1923. Newspaper accounts vary the number of manuals during this time, from anything between eight and fourteen. It is possible that it was enlarged over the years and at the point of David Cleggs death, it had fourteen manuals.
At the time of David Cleggs passing away the organ still belonged to him. The announcement of the organ being for sale by auction seemed to have triggered a public outcry and the people of Blackpool did not wish it to depart from the town. In May 1924 the Gazette and Herald reported that: "It is suggested that the employment of some progressive firm of organ builders, who would re-build the organ on more-or-less standard lines, whist retaining all the effects and material (which I assume is the rest of the organ), then tune it to concert pitch, is desirable. Two separate consoles should be provided, one in the traditional place and one “in the orchestra”. An expert organist should be called in to advise". The rebuild was completed by E.Cookson, an organ builder from the North East of England. The organist advising on the scheme was G.T Pattman.
G.T Pattman left his position at the Empress Ballroom in 1925 and the position of recital organist was taken up by James Hodgetts F.R.C.O. Hodgetts remained at the Empress Ballroom until 1929, when he took up residency at the Tower Ballroom on the new 2/10 Wurlitzer. His position at the Empress Ballroom was taken up by William C. Vann, who later became depute organist to Reginald Dixon. William C. Vann was also organist at the Palladium and several Blackpool Churches. With the installation of the new Wurlitzer organ in the Empress Ballroom during the winter if 1934/35, it appears that the concert organ was, discarded unless someone knows otherwise.
Attached is a photo of the ballroom in the late 1920s. The organ case can be seen on the far balcony, which is 15ft deep and spans some 90ft, and the ceiling topping out 45ft above.