AN historic organ that entertained thousands in Huddersfield has a new lease of life.
Or at least parts of it have.
Parts from the huge Wurlitzer cinema organ that was taken out of the former Ritz Cinema in Huddersfield in 1972 are being used in a seaside restoration.
Volunteers from an organ society are using the pipes from the organ to rebuild the organ in the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
And they hope the new organ will be complete and ready for use by the summer.
It’s a labour of love for the volunteers, who come from the Cannock Chase Cinema Organ Appreciation Society.
They had done previous work in the seaside resort and last year were given the task of restoring the Empress organ.
But the Huddersfield spare parts have taken a circuitous route to end up on the Fylde coast.
The Wurlitzer had pride of place in the Ritz, formerly the ABC, in Market Street for several decades. It was commissioned by the cinema owners from the giant US company Wurlitzer in 1935 and installed in the cinema.
When the decision was made to convert the cinema into a dual-screen centre in the early 1970s, the organ was removed piece by piece and sold to a music collector in Aylesbury.
Sadly, he died a few years ago and the Cannock Chase group bought up the pipes.
Cinema buff James Hepworth said: “After a gap of 40 years, it is good to know that the organ, or at least the pipes, will be back in use.
“They should still sound good 75 years after they were first put together”.
Cannock club spokesman Steve Tovey said: “We bought the pipes from the family of the man in Aylesbury.
“We have tried to source original Wurlitzer parts from wherever possible and the pipes from Huddersfield are now being installed in Blackpool.
“We are all volunteers so this is very much a labour of love. We had done some previous work in the Winter Gardens and now we are hard at work in the Empress Ballroom”.
The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, usually referred to simply as Wurlitzer, was an American company that produced stringed instruments, woodwinds, brass instruments, pipe organs, band organs, orchestrions, electronic organs, electric pianos and jukeboxes.
Over time Wurlitzer changed to producing only organs, pianos, and jukeboxes.
The company is no longer in existence.