Strumpshaw Hall Steam Museum, Norfolk

Originally installed in the Majestic Cinema in Reigate, Surrey, the Christie was played there until 1962, the final programme being Guns of Navarone.

In 1973, the organ was sold to Mr Ted Ransom of King’s Lynn and was installed in a large car showroom. In 1982, Ronald Walker from Wellingborough installed the organ in his warehouse. The Christie was purchased in 1997, by James Key, and installed in the Museum in just twenty-six days by Robert Ince.

The Christie cinema organ, with a three manual console and seven ranks of pipes, was built by William Hill & Son & Norman & Beard of London, but also contained parts made in Norwich in a factory situated in what is now a site at the top of St Stephen’s. It was installed in the Majestic Cinema, Reigate, on 14th October 1935 at a cost of £1,900. The console was mounted on a lift in the centre of the orchestra pit and the pipes were installed in chambers on either side of the proscenium arch.

The pipe ranks are as follows: Tibia clausa, vox humana, diapason, concert flute, violin, trumpet, tuba. The organ also has the usual percussions such as xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone, bass drum, snare drum, tom tom, sand block, Chinese block, tambourine, castanets, cymbal, triangle, sleigh bells and chimes. It also has sound effects that would have been used while accompanying silent films, even though the organ was built several years after the arrival of talking pictures. These effects include: surf, siren, klaxon, telephone, motor horn and train whistle. The manual in the centre is a coupler manual and therefore has no stops of its own. Stops from the accompaniment manual (bottom) and solo manual (top) can be coupled to the centre manual at various pitches.

Well-known organist, Reginald New, was contracted for two weeks and opened the organ. A number of organists followed. On 27th October 1946 Jackson Bewick returned to the Majestic as organist and remained until the final public performance. The cinema was later demolished.

The Museum was delighted when, in June 2001, Jackson was reunited with the Christie and gave a concert, much to the delight of his many fans. This was featured on local television and in the press.

On 5th June 2001, the British Institute of Organ Studies added the Museum’s Christie organ to its Register of Historic Pipe Organs at Grade 1 level. A certificate is on display beside the organ console.

The organ is played every Sunday during the season which runs from Easter Sunday till October. The Museum is open between 10.30am and 3.30pm