London, Cameo Cinema

309 Upper Regent Street

Compton – A336
Original 1936 installation
2 Manuals –
6 Ranks

Built c1848, the Marlborough Rooms at 309 Regent Street, which were the venue for magic lantern shows in the 1860s, were chosen by the Lumiere brothers in 1896 to demonstrate their cinematograph. The entrance design dates from 1911 and the auditorium’s design and decoration from 1928. In summer 2002 the auditorium’s plaster ceiling partially collapsed and had to  undergo emergency repairs funded by HEFCE. The former cinema, still affectionately termed ‘The Old Cinema’ within the University, currently serves as a lecture theatre and a staging hall for some of the institution’s important events.

The Compton cinema organ was installed in 1936. It is one of only three such instruments in London remaining in its original location. The organ fell into disrepair following a building accident in the 1990s and remained unplayable for some 10 years before Peter Hammond of HWS Associates carried out a restoration of the instrument over a six month period in the early 2000s, fitting the work in around the University’s busy lecture schedule.

Today the instrument is played at University ceremonies and special functions and continues to be an excellent example of John Compton’s smaller instruments.