THE THEATRE ORGAN
PART TWO: BUILDERS OF THE THEATRE ORGANS
THIS PAGE IS WRITTEN IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLEN TWAMLEY (FRIENDS OF BEER WURLITZER)
INTO THE WOODS
Please note that this song has no relationship to the Kinema in the Woods and is added purely because I am an admirer of Warren Zevon (1947-2003).
THE ORGAN AT
THE KINEMA IN THE WOODS
Although this Organ is not in its original installation and has been altered, it is especially worthy of attention since it is obviously lovingly cared for and a credit to those who have worked hard to maintain it so that it may continue to give pleasure to those lucky enough to hear it.
The building that houses the Cinema has served many functions before 1922 when it became used for the screening of film. Originally it was a farm building, but in 1906 it became the cricket pavilion of The Petwood House/Hotel, which burned down in 1920. In September 1922, the pavilion was transformed into what was then the 68th Cinema to open in the U.K.
The Cinema, then known as the Pavilion, was fitted with a rear projection system, which is still is use today. This system was installed as a result of the roof trusses of the building being too low to allow images to be projected from the back of the auditorium.
Click here to see the Projector of the Kinema in The Woods at work
The Cinema was equipped with sound in 1928, which was updated in 1978 with the installation of two electronically controlled projectors. Seating in the auditorium was provided with regular tip-up seats except for the first six rows where deck chairs were placed and which proved to be popular with customers. These seats remained in place until 1953.
The Pavilion Cinema was later renamed Screen 1 and in July 1994, a second screen, Kinema Too, was opened with seating for 92 patrons and with its walls decorated with rural scenes.
In 1986, Screen 1 was fitted with a Compton Kinestra Organ that was built in 1927. The Organ had been originally installed at the Super Cinema Charing Cross Road in 1928. At its installation, the Organ had 2-manuals and 8 ranks and was installed above the stage in a former tea room. The Organ was removed from the Super Cinema in 1947 by Monk & Gunther.
PIKE’S CINEMATOGRAPH THEATRE TO CANNON CINEMA TO MARQUE CLUB TO A WETHERSPOON’S PUBLIC HOUSE
The Super Cinema originally opened in 1911, as Pyke’s Cambridge Circus Cinematograph Theatre and was the final cinema to be built for the circuit operated by Montagu A. Pyke. It holds the distinction of being the first cinema where a member of the Royal Family attended a film performance. Following the bankruptcy of Mr. Pyke, his cinemas were sold and the Cinema was renamed, the Super Cinema, in 1916. In addition to an orchestra, a Pipe Organ was installed, which was replaced in 1928 with a Compton Kinestra Organ.
The Cinema has a long history of being operated by a number of different circuits including Gaumont British Theatres. It was during this ownership that it became one of the earliest cinemas to screen Gaumont British Movietone News, and in 1938, it was one of several chosen for large screen television transmissions.
Following the Second World War, the Cinema underwent further name changes each time its operation passed to different owners. Including in these numerous names were Pyke’s Cambridge Circus Cinematograph Theatre, Super Cinema, Taltler, Tatler News Theatre, Jacey Tatler Cinema, Filmcenta and Cannon Charing Cross Road.
In 1977, the auditorium was tripled and continued as a Cinema until 1987 when it was closed for re-modeling.
This photograph is reproduced from Dusashenka’s Flickr Album with permission.
Following de-tripling, between 1988 and 1996, the site became the latest venue used by the Marquee Club and was regularly used to host concerts.
The building was then taken over by Wetherspoons who converted it into a Public House, first named The Moon under Water, and later, The Montagu Pyke.
THE COMPTON KINESTRA ORGAN
In 1961, the Compton Kinestra Organ was taken to Northampton where its owner added a third manual and installed new relays since the originals had been lost and installed it in a heated nursery for a number of years. However in 1983, the Organ went on sale and was purchased by the owners of The Kinema in the Woods.
The Organ’s Console, which was decorated in an ornate oriental style with red lacquer and gold, was installed in Screen 1 in 1986 and opened by Nicholas Martin in October 1987.
Click here to hear Alan Underwood play the Organ
Today, the Organ has 3-manuals, 9-ranks and a grand piano attachment and is installed in two chambers, one on either side of the screen. The Console sits on a lift that originally came from the Odeon Cinema Hanley.
Click here to hear Alan Underwood play the Organ
Since being installed at the Kinema in the Woods, the Organ has undergone some restoration and enlargement and seemingly such work will continue in the future.
The Theatre Organ is played during the intervals of Saturday evening performances by the resident Organist, Alan Underwood.
Click here to hear Alan Underwood play the Organ of the Kinema in the Woods
Click here to see the Kinema in the Woods being used for a Variety Show
Click here to hear the Organ being played by Alan Underwood during a Christmas Concert