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Compton Electrone And Multicolortone At Bbc Maida Vale Studios


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A group of enthusiasts are restoring a Compton Electrone Organ that is thought to have once resided at the BBC Maida Vale recording studios. Here's the link to their Web site:-




The problem is this: no BBC survivors of the 1950s can remember this machine, despite it apparently being played by Bill Davies for 'Friday Night is Music Night'. It has two cabinets of tone wheels and a transportable console, so it may have spent much of its time in other locations.


Also, there was a Multicolortone organ at the studios, which was acquired by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and once used to create incidental music for 'Doctor Who' by Dudley Simpson.


If anyone has any information, however little, about either of these organs it would be very much appreciated.


Ray White

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I'm afraid I can't add any factual information since I never came across this instrument during my spells at Maida Vale as a radio broadcast engineer. However it would seem more likely that if it were used in conjuction with 'Friday Night is Music Night' then it may have spent some time at the Golders Green Hippodrome. The Maida Vale studios have a fine Compton pipe organ in Maida Vale Studio 1, but I don't recall there ever having been an organ in the Hippodrome.


Am I right in assuming that you are the Ray White, one time Engineer in Charge of The BBC Radiophonic Workshops?


If so, then may I commend the following website about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to forum members.


Best wishes



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  • 3 weeks later...

I remember you Ray as I worked there during part of the 80s as a radio engineer. I'm not sure who the other person is. I was aware of plenty of Hammond organs at MV but don't think I ever knew about any Compton electronic organs there. My own company installed an electronic link for the Compton pipe organ console a few years ago. I'll have a look at links you've both put up.

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