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Alexandra Palace -ivan Barnwell's Book


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On pp 14 of Mr Barnwell's lovely little booklet, there is a pic of the Willis men working on the 1929 rebuild of the Ally-Pally organ.

 

Leaning against the case are what look like large, laminated sheets , whose diapering matches that of the pipes. What are these sheets? Is it some sort of pattern transfer ??

 

Also I have never seen a colour photo of the old organ before it was painted gunmetal grey - does anybody remember what the colour scheme was?

 

It would be good to find out.

 

thanks

 

Bill

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Guest Roffensis
On pp 14 of Mr Barnwell's lovely little booklet, there is a pic of the Willis men working on the 1929 rebuild of the Ally-Pally organ.

 

Leaning against the case are what look like large, laminated sheets , whose diapering matches that of the pipes.  What are these sheets?  Is it some sort of pattern transfer ??

 

Also I have never seen a colour photo of the old organ before it was painted gunmetal grey - does anybody remember what the colour scheme was?

 

It would be good to find out.

 

thanks

 

Bill

There are pictures in colour of the organ before it was treated to various attentions of paint in later years. The diapering was still caught on colour film, and this can be seen on the official organ appeal site. When I last saw the organ in 1973, it had been done with a load of red paint on the casework! Stephen Walmsley is the one to ask.

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  • 7 months later...

 

I know that the Alexandra Palace organ site is blocked, but I wonder whether I might be able to mention another organ installed in Ally Pally in 1875 ?

Recently whilst browsing on the internet, I logged into the National Pipe Organ Register, to seek information on the AP Willis organ,

To my great surprise, when I typed in "Alexandra Palace", I was met with the words "Alexandra Palace Theatre",

As a member of the Theatre Committee, I, and my colleagues were unaware that a pipe organ had ever been installed in the theatre.

The NPO Register does provide details of the organ (a Willis) and they have agreed to supply further information if possible.

What I need to know is when the organ was installed and removed, and where it was situted in the theatre, and how often it was used.

Apparently the organ was moved to Trinity Road Methodist Church, but does it still exist ?

It is strange that no archive mateiral on the theatre mentions the organ.

Can anyone help ?

Many thanks

Colin Richell.

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I know that the Alexandra Palace organ site is blocked, but I wonder whether I might be able to mention another organ installed in Ally Pally in 1875 ?

Recently whilst browsing on the internet, I logged into the National Pipe Organ Register, to seek information on the AP Willis organ,

To my great surprise, when I typed in "Alexandra Palace", I was met with the words "Alexandra Palace Theatre",

As a member of the Theatre Committee, I, and my colleagues were unaware that a pipe organ had ever been installed in the theatre.

The NPO Register does provide details of the organ (a Willis) and they have agreed to supply further information if possible.

What I need to know is when the organ was installed and removed, and where it was situted in the theatre, and how often it was used.

Apparently the organ was moved to Trinity Road Methodist Church, but does it still exist ?

It is strange that no archive mateiral on the theatre mentions the organ.

Can anyone help ?

Many thanks

Colin Richell.

 

Hi

 

NPOR shows some of the information that you are asking for! The organ was present in the theatre in 1875 (the date of the survey there) and was removed sometime prior to 1890 (date of installation in the Methodist Church).

 

Please let NPOR know if you discover any more information!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony Newnham

(NPOR Editor)

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Thanks Tony

The problem of course, as always is that there is no-one alive today who could supply the information I need.

I will certainly look at the NPOR Register again as you suggest.

I do need to know where the organ was situated, and whether it accompanied pantomines or perhaps silent film shows, when the theatre was operated as a cinema.

I am still looking for the church ! and I only live a mile away.

When one of the AP bidders talked about relocating the Willis, I did suggest to the newspaper reporter who was interviewing me, that the theatre was the only suitable location, not being aware of the above.

Colin Richell

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Thanks Tony

The problem of course, as always is that there is no-one alive today who could supply the information I need.

I will certainly look at the NPOR Register again as you suggest.

I do need to know where the organ was situated, and whether it accompanied pantomines or perhaps silent film shows, when the theatre was operated as a cinema.

I am still looking for the church ! and I only live a mile away.

When one of the AP bidders talked about relocating the Willis, I did suggest to the newspaper reporter who was interviewing me, that the theatre was the only suitable location, not being aware of the above.

colin Richell

 

=====================

 

I'm not optimistic about this one, but the obvious tac to take is theatre history rather than things like the NPOR. There are people who are really into this sort of thing, and people who know all about the history of theatre-music, including organs.

 

In fact, a LOT of theatres had basically "church" organs within them, and when the silent films first started, the resident pipe-organ was used for accompaniment; most of the buildings then being theatres or halls rather than cinemas.

 

I'll see what I can find, but as I suggest, it may not amount to much.

 

MM

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It is strange that no archive mateiral on the theatre mentions the organ.

 

Many thanks

Colin Richell.

 

That's because the Organ in question was actually in the small concert room, not the theatre, and is well documented.

 

Richard

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It is strange that no archive mateiral on the theatre mentions the organ.

 

Many thanks

Colin Richell.

 

That's because the Organ in question was actually in the small concert room, not the theatre, and is well documented. 

 

Richard

 

=====================

 

Ha! Then I shall stop looking!

 

:blink:

 

MM

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=====================

 

I'm not optimistic about this one, but the obvious tac to take is theatre history rather than things like the NPOR.  There are people who are really into this sort of thing, and people who know all about the history of theatre-music, including organs.

 

In fact, a LOT of theatres had basically "church" organs within them, and when the silent films first started, the resident pipe-organ was used for accompaniment; most of the buildings then being theatres or halls rather than cinemas.

 

I'll see what I can find, but as I suggest, it may not amount to much.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Before you do too much, check the NPOR survey date for the church unless it's pretty recent the situation may have changed - it may well be that it's closed, or that the organ has been removed or substantially rebuilt.

 

If you do find out anything, please let NPOR know via the appropriate links on the web pages. I notice that we don't have a stop list for the organ whilst in the theatre, for example.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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With respect I think you are wrong.Richard. A Willis organ was installed in the concert room at Ally Pally, but this was removed to a church in Finchley. The theate Willis was moved to a church in Wood Green.

I put the name of the Church onto the Internet, but found nothing,

There is a church in Trinity Road, but this is a Greek Orthodox church, but from its appearance it could have been Methodist originally.

As explained previously I discovered the existance of the organ on the NPO Register, and this page includes the stop list of the organ.

It is suggested that further information is available under the Hoar Collection 1569 but I could not find anything.

Also mentions under update history 1947 Fda OSD 1946 incorporates AO1106 (DELETED) Its all Greek to me.

Many thanks for your help.

Colin Richell.

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There were only two Willis organs at Alexandra Palace, as confirmed yonks ago when Bert Neale told me. I have no reason to doubt his expert knowledge, and he was not suffering from dementia! Willis did build a Cinema organ that emerged at Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, are you sure you not getting mixed up with that one?

Regards,

R

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Richard,

I knew Bert Neale also, and as I have a friend who lives in Swansea, I am aware of that organ.

I can only repeat what I keep on saying, that last week I decided to have a look on the NPOR and BIOS web site, and inserted the words "Alexandra Palace". Much to my surprise the title "Alexandra Palace Theatre" came up.

I am not senile either and I have a part print out of page 2 , and I have provided the information on that print out previously.

The NPOR and BIOS are very respected and wise organisations and I believe what they are saying.

Have a look inder the Hoar Collection, because I was unable to find anything.

I am sure that we will find the answer, and remember we were advised of the church to which the organ was transferred.

Perhaps I will have a word with my dear friend Fred Clarke.

Best wishes

Colin.

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Oh yes, he will know of course. I visited him in Somerset and he is most charming. Do pass on my regards. I have a letter from Bert (one of very many) which refers I think both to the concert room organ, and maybe two moves, I can't recall. He well knew of it, and he did hear it in its new home.

regards,

Richard

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With respect I think you are wrong.Richard. A Willis organ was installed in the concert room at Ally Pally, but this was removed to a church in Finchley. The theate Willis was moved to a church in Wood Green.

I put the name of the Church onto the Internet, but found nothing,

There is a church in Trinity Road, but this is a Greek Orthodox church, but from its appearance it could have been Methodist originally.

As explained previously I discovered the existance of the organ on the NPO Register, and this page includes the stop list of the organ.

It is suggested that further information is available under the Hoar Collection  1569 but I could not find anything.

Also mentions under update history 1947 Fda OSD 1946 incorporates AO1106 (DELETED) Its all Greek to me.

Many thanks for your help.

Colin Richell.

 

Hi

 

The "codes" you mention are more for NPOR staff - so that we can trace the source of the material. I don't know why you can't find the reference in the Hoar collection - I've never seen it, and it may well be that the reference is "second-hand" so to speak.

 

FDa is the late Frank Day's collection (FDa is a surveyor code - and we don't publish them for obvious reasons). The "Incorporates A01106 deleted" means that, for some reason, there were 2 surveys for the same organ, and when it was spotted, the 2 have been merged. The statement allows us to trace the original source material in case of questions.

 

NPOR is only as good as the infomration we have sent to us - so please, if you discover any more about this organ, let us know.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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The second organ was in the small concert room, situated in the North west corner and now demolished, with the goods yard on the site now. The theatre never chad an organ, and is too small anyway.

All best,

R

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The second organ was in the small concert room, situated in the North west corner and now demolished, with the goods yard on the site now. The theatre never chad an organ, and is too small anyway.

All best,

R

 

Richard

I do not know if you have seen the theatre but it is half the size of the Great Hall and certainly is as large as many west end theatres.

There is room for 4 organs !

I would be happy to send you a printout.

best wishes

Colin

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I've been in it, before the fire. I was amazed how small it was for a theatre, but it would be nice restored as a cocktail bar lounge I though, as a sort of add on to the Great Hall, and certainly one ot two of the fittings are nice, or were. It is difficult to imagine what use it might be put to these days, and one would imagine the lot ripped out and rebuilt somewhere more appropriate to it's original purpose might be a good option. I doubt it would have much purpose at Alexandra Palace today. I believe it was closed a long time before the fire, and had little interest so I was told.

Regards,

Richard

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Gentlemen,

 

I thought we had got rid of this acrimonious bickering when the Alexandra Palace thread was closed. I hope you aren't going to spoil it all for us again.

 

My belief is that the theatre was substantial in size. Perhaps somebody can inform us with facts rather than opinions.

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No, from what I remember it was actually modest, and was derelict. I have to say that any money spent on that would be far better spent on the organ. There are scores of theatres around and even they struggle to survive. I suppose even that cannot be said without causing another huge debate :lol::lol::lol: . No one can have an opinion. :lol:

 

I agree about the thread concerning the palace and organ, it has been all gone over, and the organ is doing fine, and things look very positive about that :lol: , with the recent developments re a take over. I simply have replied to clarify certain aspects, as one who knew the building very well before the fire. The Palm Court was a tremendous restoration for example, but it was largely intact, and again.....I saw it. I am personally actually thoroughly bored with the whole thread, which goes nowhere.

I am more than happy :D to move onto things far more interesting.*yawns*

Yours Sincerely,

Richard

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No, from what I remember it was actually modest, and was derelict. I have to say that any money spent on that would be far better spent on the organ. There are scores of theatres around and even they struggle to survive. I suppose even that cannot be said without causing another huge debate :lol:  :lol:  :lol: . No one can have an opinion.  :lol:

 

I'm not sure what theatres you may be comparing it with but this link:

 

http://www.alexandrapalace.com/theatre.html

 

says it has (had/would have) a capacity of 2000 and is approximately the same size as Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which also had organs in the past.

 

May I suggest in the nicest possible way that you cheer up a bit, Richard.

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Both [the Willis organ and the theatre] are uniqe to the Palace, and I have worked as hard for the organ as I have for the theatre. I want to see both restored. ... the theatre contains unique stage machinery found no where else, and English heritage are offering match funding for the renovation of this machinery. The theatre is worth saving and will be saved.

 

I find it refreshing to work for the theatre and the organ, and I shall continue to do so.

In the meantime I will continue to research the theatre organ.

 

Incidentally English Heritage have listed the stage machinery wheras the Willis organ has not received such recognition.

 

Colin richell.

 

(Edited by moderator for "heat".)

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I'm not sure what theatres you may be comparing it with but this link:

 

http://www.alexandrapalace.com/theatre.html

 

says it has (had/would have) a capacity of 2000 and is approximately the same size as Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which also had organs in the past.

 

May I suggest in the nicest possible way that you cheer up a bit, Richard.

 

I've got a good idea!

 

They should restore the theatre from lottery money, and then invite the Cinema Organ Society to install the Wurlitzer which once stood in the Edrich Hall, South Bank Poly....oops...Uni.

 

MM

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==============================

I've got a good idea!

 

They should restore the theatre from lottery money, and then invite the Cinema Organ Society to install the Wurlitzer which once stood in the Edrich Hall, South Bank Poly....oops...Uni.

 

 

An even better idea....move the RCO there as well, and get them to put funds into the work on the Willis organ.

 

MM

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An even better idea....move the RCO there as well, and get them to put funds into the work on the Willis organ.

 

MM

 

Some time ago I e-mailed Len Rawle (An organist) suggesting that the South Bank Wurlitzer could be reinstalled in either, Hornsey Town Hall, the old Gaumont Palace theatre in Wood Green. or the Ally Pally Theatre. At that time I had no idea that the theatre had contained an organ !

The idea doesn't seem so crazy now !

None of my ideas were considered, presumably.

Colin Richell.

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Some time ago I e-mailed Len Rawle (An organist) suggesting that the South Bank Wurlitzer could be reinstalled in either, Hornsey Town Hall, the old Gaumont Palace theatre in Wood Green. or the Ally Pally Theatre. At that time I had no idea that the theatre had contained an organ !

The idea doesn't seem so crazy now !

None of my ideas were considered, presumably.

Colin Richell.

 

Len Rawle!

 

Good grief!

 

Len is more associated with ATOS (American Theatre Organ Society) than with the COS (Cinema Organ Society) who own the ex-Trocadero, Elephant & Castle, Wurlitzer, as played by Quentin Maclean.

 

Just for the record, the Rawle house was built around the ex-Leicester Square, Empress cinema Wurlitzer, rather than the Wurlitzer built-into the house! (How's that for dedication?)

 

I think there is a slightly uneasy relationship between ATOS and the COS, but it may have got better since the time when there was open turf-war between the two organisations.

 

:(

 

MM

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