Organist Directory :- Theatre H - L

For information on the Graphic Icons used on this site click here

Quick link to names beginning with :- A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W
Frederick Haig 5th Mar 1894
Frederick Haig was born 5th March 1894 in Halifax, Yorkshire.
Began his musical studies under Ernest Cooper, starting with piano then moving on to the organ.
His first appointment was at The Picture House, Huddersfield as a pianist.
Joined the Army serving in France, Germany and in the Rhine Army of Occupation.
On being demobbed returned to Huddersfield and secured an appointment as orchestral organist at the Hippodrome, Stoke on Trent.
He then worked on ocean liners as a pianist. Returned to the cinema where he obtained a position as musical director at the Grand Cinema, Huddersfield, stayed for three years then moved to the Scala Manchester as pianist and relief organist.
Other appointments include; Ambassador, Pendleton, Manchester; Lido, Bolton; Carlton, Salford; Broadway, Eccles. Toured the A.B.C. circuit then resident at the Grand, Stockport. In 1946 was resident at the Regent, Hanley, the last organist to have a residency at this venue.
Broadcast from the Ritz, Stockport in 1939.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Ernest Hall
Ernest Hall opened the Regent Cinema, Portsmouth
Frieda Hall 1913 - 2002
Frieda Hall organist
Hammond Organ Club logo

Ian Woolstenholme interviews Frieda Hall
Frieda Hall (Queen of the Keys) was born in 1913.
In her younger days she played the organ at chapels in Keighley, and she had also enjoyed playing on cruise ships.
At the end of 1966 she toured Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland, doing radio work as well as gigs.
The Stage
19 January 1967
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

Frieda broadcast from the Odeon, Leicester Square, April 1970
Extract:- BBC Radio Times

1952 was a demonstrator for Mastrovox
Lady Mayoress during her years living in Keighley
She had her own LaFleur Hammond
LaFleur Hammond
J.Percy Hall
J.Percy Hall opened the Victory Palace, Sheffield.
Margaret Hall
I Don't Need Anything But You
A Whole New World
Tango in D
Stevie Wonder Medley
Voices of Spring
Deep Purple concerto
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
Me & My Girl Medley
margaret hall organist
Wynne Hallford
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
David Hamilton
As Long As He Needs Me
Somewhere
The Green Leaves of Summer
Limelight
David Hamilton
David Hamilton was born in 1944 in Melrose, Scotland.
David started his musical education at the age of 10 on the piano, graduating to the church organ when he was 14.
When David left school he trained as a catering manager, this involved studies in Geneva, Paris and Bradford. While he was at Bradford he heard Arnold Loxam on the Wurlitzer, this sparked Davids interest in the theatre organ.
David took a catering management post in the South of England, fortunately close to a number of theatre organs, including the Gaumont Theatre Wurlitzer.
In 1962 David became one of the resident organists at the Gaumont theatre playing the Wurlitzer organ.
David went on to work for C. G. Conn (UK) Ltd as marketing director. In this role he travelled the world.
In 1977 David was offered and accepted a post with the Conn parent company in America. David moved to America where he presented and promoted the Conn organ.
Extract:- Various
Cecil V. Hammett 19th Jan 1918 - 1974
Latin American Selection - Granada Tooting Wurlitzer
Vic Hammett plays
Exodus
Vic Hammett plays
Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia
Vic Hammett plays
When I Fall In Love
Stanford Hall Theatre
Loughborough
Wurlitzer
Vic Hammett plays
Latin American Selection
Granada Tooting
Wurlitzer
Vic Hammett plays
Medley #Two
Regal Edmonton
Christie
Vic Hammett plays
Medley #One
Regal Edmonton
Christie
Vic Hammett plays
If You Don't Love Me
Regal Edmonton
Christie
Vic Hammett plays
Sophia
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
I'll Always Be In Love With You
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
Sambalina
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
Just For A While
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
Poor Butterfly
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
If I Had You
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
Ye Banks and Braes
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
Sweet Georgia Brown
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
The Birth Of The Blues
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
Brazil
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1967
Vic Hammett plays
SOMEWHERE A VOICE IS CALLING
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1968
Vic Hammett plays
HORSE BOX
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1968
Vic Hammett plays
ECSTASY
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1968
Vic Hammett plays
SONG OF ALASSIO
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1968
Cecil V. Hammett organist
Origin:- Theatre Organ World
Cecil Victor Hammett (Vic Hammett) was born 19th January 1918 at Windsor.
A Student chorister at Eton College Chapel he studied organ and piano under Dr. Henry Ley and E.J. Ducket.
His first appointment was in Slough, playing the Rutt at the Palace Cinema and Congregational Church.
He then moved to the Plaza, Iver
No record of a cinema at Iver found
followed by being assistant to Leslie James playing the Wurlitzer at Madam Tussauds.
Cecil joined Gaumont British in 1935, leaving a year later to play the Regent, Lemington Spa. He then moved to play the Shipman and King group playing their theatres between 1936 and 1939. He left them to join Doorlay's Review
Mentioned in 'Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin'
, he was Musical Director and Hammond organist, the show was to be a world tour starting on June 1st 1939 in the Scala, Berlin. He ended up interred as a prisoner of war until May 1945.
He re-joined Gaumont British on the 16th July 1945. In 1946 playing at the Broadway, Stratford.
During his career he recorded at Lewisham Town Hall and broadcast from Scala, Berlin; Operetten Theatre Leipzig and the New Broadway, Stratford.
Cecil Hammett died in 1974.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Gilbert Handley
Gilbert Handley opened the Regal Cinema, Hammersmith.
Gilbert Handy

1946 Regal, St Leonards on Sea
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Ronald Hamner 2nd Feb 1917 - 23rd May 1994
Some of Ronalds compositions played by various orchestras.
Pastorale (Theme from Blue Hills)
Picking Strings
Heavy Seas
Skyscraper City
Ronald Hamner organist
Ronald Hanmer was born 2nd February 1917 in Reigate, Surry.
He won a scholarship to Blackheath Conservatoire of Music and studied under Harry Farjeon. The following year he won a composition prize and had his first work broadcast 'Overture to a Comdey'.
In April 1935 he Joined Granada (then Bernstein) Theatres, and apart for a short break serving in the RAF (he was discharged on medical grounds)stayed with then until 1948.
1950s and 1960s he directed his own Latin-American percussion ensemble called "The Marimberos" on BBC radio.
Ronald was a prolific composer and arranger, his works include Bouquet de Paris, Capstan and Windlass, The Heather and the Thistle, Heritage of England, The Holly and the Mistletoe, The Oak and the Rose and Memories of Hungary.
After emigrating to Australia in 1975, he was an arranger and conductor for the St Lucia Orchestra in Brisbane.
He died in Brisbane on 23rd May 1994.
Extract:- Wikipedia page
Stella Hannan
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Ryan Hardy YouTube logo
Jack Moelmann interview
Anything Goes - Fargo Theatre Wurlitzer
Trumpet Voluntary - 4 manual classical organ at First Lutheran Church
From This Moment On - Wurlitzer
Master of the House - Wurlitzer
Hungarian Dance No. 5 - 4 manual classical organ at First Lutheran Church
Bumble Boogie - Wurlitzer
Little Drummer Boy - Wurlitzer
Organist Ryan Hardy
At 18, Ryan Hardy was the youngest member of the Red River chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) and the organization's President.
Ryan started playing piano at y years old and moved onto organ aged 11 after hearing the organ at the Organ Stop Pizza
Ryan Hardy was awarded second place in the 2015 National young organists competition at the ATOS Convention in Philadelphia.
Lew Harris 14th Aug 1906 -
Lew Harris organist
At the Rex Theatre Hazlemere, Theatrone
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Lew Harris was born 14th August 1906 at Pembroke Dock, South Wales.
He began his musical studies at the age of five. Did two pianoforte recitals from the Bournemouth studio when he was seventeen years old.
Then he took up violin and organ, the organ was with Reginald Foorte.
Lew was solo organist for 3½ years at the Commodore, Southsea; 2 years playing and broadcasting the Conacher at the Forum, Coventry; 2½ years playing the Compton at the Majestic, Rochester; then 3 years in London, first with Gaumont British then with Granada Theatres; left that company in 1941 to undertake work of national importance.
On being released in 1944 took a position playing the Compton Theatrone at the Rex, Haslemere.
Did a number of solo piano broadcasts from Bournemouth.
He was a fully qualified engineer and spent four years of war service in the engine rooms of motor torpedo boats
Motor Torpedo Boat
and other light naval craft.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Elizabeth Harrison
Elizabeth Harrison (also known as Liz) was born 1st December 1976 just outside Preston, Lancashire.
Elizabeth has established herself on the concert circuit not only as a musician but also as an entertainer. Her varied musical repertoire along with her cheerful Lancashire humour has made her one of the country’s favourite performers.
Elizabeth has been playing on the concert circuit for over 24 years. She has a wealth of experience playing both electronic and theatre organs.
Elizabeth plays her portable Roland Atelier AT350C and also owns a beautiful Allen MDS theatre 3 organ which is kept at home.
Extract:- Elizabeth Harrison Organfax page
Edgar Harrison
1946 working for Gaumont British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Stanley Harrison 8th Aug 1915 - 12th Nov 2007
Stanley Morris Harrison was born 8th August 1915
He studied piano and organ at an early age. In 1937 he took up theatre organ under Eric Spruce and Felton Rapley.
After a period of relief work in the Midlands for Gaumont British was appointed resident at Princes Park Theatre, Liverpool, then playing the Aeolian organ at the Palladium, Southport, followed by the Rialto, Hall Green.
He also played the Majestic Cinema in Cradley Heath, ending up as organist manager of the cinema
Extract:- Black Country Bugle

Stanley Harrison died 12th November 2007
Syd Harrop
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Jack Hartland
Jack Hartland organist

Extract:- Kent History Web site

1945 playing at the Gaumont, Cheltenham
1947 Gaumonts New Palace
December 1948 Playing at the Town Hall, Cheltenham.
1949 Gaumont, Cheltenham
Frank Hayward
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Peter Hayward Link to electronic page icon Youtube logo
Peter Hayward at Blackpool Tower
Strike Up The Band Medley
Jealousy Medley
Somewhere Over The Rainbow Medley
Organist Peter Hayward
Peter Hayward has been a professional musician for over forty years in the UK, before emigrating (and semi-retiring) to be near to his daughter and grandchildren.
Peter has been a regular monthly contributor to Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade since its conception, his popular article covering all aspects of keyboard music.
Peter has written many successful books on music : his motto being 'Professional Tips - Just for Fun - All explained in plain English - No Jargon'.
It is this down to earth philosophy that has made him a popular figure at the Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Festivals, where he is always happy to share his musical knowledge, gathered over a lifetime.
Peter now lives in Sweden, where he is actively engaged with various choirs, concerts and regular radio broadcasts, featuring many of the forty plus recordings which he has made over the years.
Extract:- Keyboard Cavalcade biography
Reginald Hayward
1929 - 1931 playing at the Regent Cinema, Portsmouth
1934 opened the Astoria Cinema, Cliftonville.
1946 Playing Independently.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Jack Helyer 18th Nov 1902 - 5th Mar 1973
Playing the Ritz Nottingham
Compton Lodge Studios
Jack Helyer organist
Conacher Organ at the Ritz Theatre Nottingham
Origin:- RAF Lichfield Association

Edmund Victor (Jack) Helyer was born 18th November 1902 in Bournemouth.
He studied piano from the age of 7, taught by his mother. At 14 became a projectionist, (turning the handle) and when the pianist was late or ill was called upon to deputize.
Jack moved to another cinema that had a small orchestra that was short of a drummer, a small drum kit was bought and Jack was persuaded to become a drummer. He gradually became more proficient and the kit was expanded.
When a small church organ was installed Jack was roped in to play it, although he couldn't play pedals. he played quiet music on the organ and loud on the drums.
He eventually played solo on the organ for matinees.
Jack moved to the Electric Cinema, Bournemouth as a drummer, when Felton Rapley left he took over as organist. When talkies arrived the orchestra was sacked, Jack was kept on to accompany any silent films shown on the organ.
Reginald Foort put a good word in for Jack at Gaumont British that resulted in Jack joining the company in 1930. He played at the Gaumont Sutton, Surrey and Regent, Bristol.
Jack joined County Cinemas and played at Leicester Square; Lido, Hove; Regal, Golders Green; Ritz, Nottingham and numerous other venues. He also broadcast from the Ritz Nottingham regularly between 1935 -1939

Radio listing
Western Daily Press
21 June 1937


He joined the R.A.F. in 1942, playing Hammond organ at a number of camps round the country. Jack was invalidid out of the R.A.F. in 1945.
Started broadcasting on the old BBC organ in 1934.
A prolific and popular composer he had a number of compositions published.
He was also an author writing hiking books about Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Article on Jack Helyer

After the war he returned to Nottingham but eventually, television brought a fall in cinema audiences and by 1960, the resident organists found themselves redundant, including Jack!  For his last years at work he moved to another cinema in Nottingham as House Manager, but occasionally did performances for the Cinema Organists’ Society.
Jack Helyer died 5th March 1973

Extract:- Theatre Organ World and other sources
W.J. Hemsley
W.J. Hemsley organist
Origin:- delcampe
1928 opened the Capitol Cinema, Wembley
1939 - 1946 broadcasting regularly on the light program, Home Service and Forces Radio.

Program listing
The Scotsman
06 May 1946

1940 at the Luxor, Twickenham 1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Richard Hills
the Royal Albert Hall organ
Tiger Rag
The Music of Al Jolson
The Dancing Years
The Deadwood Stage
Interview by Jack Moelmann

Camera icon Camera icon Camera icon
Organist Richard Hills ATOS logo 1993

Article Article
Richard Hills is one of the very few musicians truly to have bridged and mastered the divide between the world of the classical organ and that of the theatre organ. Having commenced classical organ studies under William Whitehead at Rochester Cathedral, he became Organ Scholar at Exeter College Oxford, studying with David Sanger. Further organ scholarships followed at Portsmouth Cathedral, where he studied with Rosemary Field and at Westminster Abbey.
He now pursues a freelance career and is Organist at St Mary’s, Bourne Street, London. His career in the theatre organ world has been equally prestigious. He has numerous·prizes and awards to his credit, both in this country and in the USA, where he was named by ‘Organist of the Year’ in 2010 by the American Theatre Organ Society.
Extract from the Richard Hills COS page
Extract:- Richard Hills COS page
T. Guy Hindell 1907 - 1st Jul 1939
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Thomas Guy Hindell was born in 1907.
Studied at Jesus College, Oxford.
He played at Astoria Theatre, Brighton; the Astoria Theatre, Southend and Ritz Theatre, Southend.
opened the Central Theatre, Kidderminster & Astoria Theatre, Brighton
Broadcast on the BBC theatre organ in 1937
E. C. Hinden
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Leonard Hobbs

In October 1940 Leonard Hobbs was at the Tower, West Bromwich; in September 1941 he was at the Pavilion Wylde Green
Billy Hobson
Billy Hobson directed the Lasbury Sextet who broadcast regularly on BBC radio
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Leslie Holman
1934 playing at Palace Theatre, Ramsgate
1935 opened the 3/6 Compton at Astoria Cinema, Folkstone.
1939 at the Savoy, Leicester
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- various
Melbourne Holman
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Melbourne Holman opened the Palladium Cinema, Paignton and the Palladium Picture Playhouse, Brixton
1929 offering Unit Organ tuition
Michael Holmes
Michael Holmes OrganFax Page
Michael-Holmes organist
Michael Holmes has had a varied career as Organist and Musical Director playing all over the country for shows. He is accompanist for the Manchester Music Hall association and Musical Director for the Flanagan and Allen Story.
He has had an interest in Theatre Organ since an early age, and enjoys playing them when he can. As a theatre organist, Michael can often be found at the Plaza, Stockport. He also plays regularly at the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust's Organ Heritage Centre at Peel Green.
Extract:- Michael Holmes OrganFax page
Watson Holmes 16th Feb 1901 - 1970
Down The Mall
Singing in the Rain
Dream (when you`re feeling blue)
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Dizzy Fingers
Medley
3/13 Wurlitzer
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Five Organists Live
Belle Of The Ball
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Midnight Tango
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Jolly Good Company
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Midnight In Mayfair
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Rhythm Medley
Happy Feet
Who's Sorry Now
Chicago And Tea For Two.
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
All The Things You Are
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1973
Circus Polka
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Hey! Neighbour & Nobody's Sweetheart
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Un Peu D'amore
Blackpool Opera House
Wurlitzer
Watson Holmes organist
Origin:- Family history page
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Watson Holmes (Sleightholme) was born 16th February 1901 in Gateshead, County Durham.
After leaving school he worked in a shipping company, at the same time studying organ. He gained his RCO diploma in 1927.
His first experience of a theatre organ was at the Shipcote Hall in Gateshead, playing their Blackett and Howden organ. After this he took a position with The Provincial Cinematagraph Theatre Co. playing at the Plaza Allerton in Liverpool. While there he continued his classical training under Henry Gos-Custard.
In 1933 he joined Granada and spent three years on tour before being appointed to the Granada, Mansfield in 1936, playing their 3/8 Wurlitzer.
1943 he joined ABC at the Forum, Birmingham.

Origin:- Family history page

In December 1943 Watson joined the Blackpool Tower Company and took over from Horace Finch at the Empress Ballroom until the end of the war.
When Horace Finch returned to the Empress and Reginald Dixon to the Tower Ballroom after the war Watson was appointed Assistant to Reginald Dixon at the Tower and also deputized for Horace Finch at the Empress Ballroom.
In 1952 the Tower Company installed a 3/14 Wurlitzer in the Palace Ballroom and Watson was appointed resident organist, making regular radio broadcasts from both the Palace and Opera House organs.
Watson retired in 1966, making occasional guest appearances on the concert circuit.
Watson Holmes died in 1970 in Fylde, Lancashire.
Extract:- Profile of an Organist video
Harold Honess
Harold Honess was organist at the
parish church
Staplehurst until 1936
Feb 1946 he was billed as 'Back From The RAF' at the Granada, Bedford
Extract:- various
Chris Hopkins YouTube logo
Plays Latin on the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer


Chris Hopkins
It was Frank Lythgoe, the highly regarded Steam Organ Enthusiast, who first recognized Chris Hopkins' talent, and Chris openly accredits Frank's support. Chris is the first to say that Frank's support was instrumental in his moving to Blackpool's Tower Ballroom in 1995.
Chris Hopkins entered his first season as a Blackpool Tower Ballroom organist in 1996 and has come to be regarded as one of the lynch pins by many who regularly frequent the Tower ballroom.
Chris is to be found entertaining his audience not only through the season, but also through most of the winter months when it is mainly the 'Regulars' who frequent the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The Wersi Louvre entered the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in 2001 and Chris eagerly embraced its advanced technology and rapidly developed a rapport with the instrument, developing a repertoire that enables him to demonstrate not only the versatility of the Wersi, but his own, individual style.
Chris now plays the Roland organ at the Tower Ballroom. With the decline in the hours the ballroom is used for dancing Chris needed a second string to his bow to make money, he now teaches people to drive as well as playing at the Tower Ballroom.
As a hobby Chris tours Scotland taking photographs, he has a great eye and has put many of his pictures on Facebook.
Tom Horton
The Cotton Wurlitzer
Gershwin medley
Romantic Medley
Selection from Oliver
Popular tunes Medley
The Organ Shifters
Organist Tom Horton Web site link icon
All great things start unintentionally, and that could be truer when it comes to Tom Horton's musical career. Tom started playing the Electronic Organ when he was nine years old when his grandparents updated their organ. This new digital instrument caught Tom's eye and after asking if he could have a go on it he was told that he could, but he would have to learn to play properly. Little did Tom know, that he was beginning some that would change his life forever.
He started by learning "Merrily We Roll Along" from the Kenneth Baker series and was taught by his grandparents for a about a year after. He then attended the Yamaha Music School in Lowestoft, Suffolk and under the tuition of his organ teacher he obtained many grades with the London College of Music and Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in both performance and theory, passing all his exams with very high marks. In 2001 Tom took his DipLCM diploma with the London College and passed this exam with an amazing 95 marks out of a possible 100! He currently holds an ALCM diploma with the London College of Music.
Tom's love of the cinema organ began at the age of twelve, with a visit to the Mechanical Music Museum at Cotton, Suffolk where he was allowed a ten-minute play on the Wurlitzer organ. After being heard by the museums resident organist, he was given some hints and tips on theatre organ playing.
In 2000, Tom won the UK Young Theatre Organist of the Year award, conferred upon by the American Theatre Organ Society, UK chapter.
Since becoming a professional musician in 2001, Tom has had a very varied musical career. As well as concerts and teaching, he has held the position of piano teacher at a private boarding school, has written & arranged exam music for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), as well as playing at numerous weddings, services and many other musical events.
Tom Horton is on a lifelong mission to popularise the organ whatever its type to new audiences.
Since 2005 Tom Horton has been performing on Lowrey organs at his electronic organ concerts.
Extract:- Tom Horton Web site
Harold Howell
Harold Howell opened the Capitol Cinema, Tonbridge
John Howlett 16th Oct 1906 - 1985

Regal Cinema, Hull
Image origin:- Discogs

Biographical Dictionary of the Organ

More information
Stories of London page
Charles John William Howlett was born 16th Oct 1906 in Brentford.
Studied at the Foundling Hospital, London
1933 Luxor, Eastbourne
1941 Plaza, Rugby
1936 - 1955 broadcasting on a very regular basis.
1936 broadcast from Regal, Hull
1946 broadcast from the Regal, Wimbledon
Extract:- Theatre Organ World + various

1947 - 1958 played at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square on their 5/17 Compton
John Howlett died 1985 in Bodmin, Cornwall.
Colin Howson
Colin Howson started his professional career as an organist at the age of twelve, as a church organist, moving to theatre organ five years later.
He worked for Gaumont British playing at Sheffield, Leicester and London venues.
He spent some time as a pianist for the Sidney Phasey orchestra.
Resident, and in May 1939 broadcast from, Regent Cinema, Bristol
Extract:- The Era - Thursday 30 December 1937
George Hunt
George Hunt opened the Empire Theatre, Birmingham and the Kings Theatre, Dundee.
1928 - March 1929 Kings Theatre, Dundee
1940 - 41 Windsor Theatre, Bearwood
Harold Hunt 17th Jan 1901 -
Harold Hunt organist
Origin:- Theatre Organ World
at the theatre organ Popular medley Forces Programme, 1 November 1940
National Programme Daventry, 19 April 1939
Harold Hunt was born 17th January 1901 in Brierly Hill, Staffs.
Harold studied music under Arthur Woodall and played the piano in a cinema aged nine, deputizing for the regular pianist who was ill.
At the age of fifteen he was musical director at the Palace Theatre
No trace of the Palace Theatre, Brierley Hill, survives. It was, a wooden framed, corrugated iron structure, accessed from the High Street, via an archway with a pay box in the parade of shops.
The opening was on 2nd March, 1914, and melodramas and variety were the mainstays in its early days but a cinema license was taken out in 1917.
Extract:- Black Country Bugle
, Brierly Hill, staying there for five years.
Subsequent appointments included; The Olympia, Worsley; Imperial, Bootle;
No history of an organ installed here so assume he played piano
Scala, Stourbridge
No history of an organ installed here so assume he played piano
and The Picture House, Brierley Hill.
No history of an organ installed here so assume he played piano

When the talkies came he became organist at the Regal, Haslemere. He left there to join A.B.C at the Princess, Dagenham, then on to the Picture House, Edgbaston and Forum, Birmingham.
Harold then went to the Empire, Coventry, broadcasting from there in 1939. In 1940 he moved to the Ritz, Birkenhead, again broadcasting from there.
In 1941 he joined Gaumont British playing at the Gaumont, Birmingham moving to the Gaumont. Coventry in 1942. He broadcast from both cinemas.
He appeared as guest organist in cinemas and theatres up and down the country, including the Blackpool Tower.
Harold was also a composer, writing a number of popular pieces.
Robert Hunter
Organ Celebrities
Recorded as George Montalba
Washington Post March
Melody in F
Stars Fell On Alabama
Anitra's Dance
Put the Moon Back In the Sky
Diane
Mazurka from Masquerade
March Fantasy
Ritual Fire Dance
Robert Hunter organist
Robert Hunter was a child prodigy. By age six he was working in radio alongside Shirley Temple and Judy Garland; by 19, he was playing with the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.
His stupendously prolific music career spanned 60 years, which took him from classical concert piano to big bands to Broadway to TV, and eventually to acclaim as a respected and sought-after chorale arranger.
Most fascinating is how, after gaining notoriety as 'Bob Hunter, he was given the opportunity to become George Montalba; and how he continued to live out two different musical careers for over eight years—as two different artists. There was the humble Bob Hunter, who excelled at all facets of his career, yet always intentionally skirted the spotlight of fame, preferring to work in the background. And then there was George Montalba, who became a worldwide sensation performing to packed houses throughout the world, including Radio City Music Hall.
Extract:- Devil in Disguise
Bruce 'Wendell' James
Lushington Wendell Bruce-James (known as Bruce Wendell) was born on the Island of Antigua on 9th February 1891.
The family moved to British Guiana while Bruce was a child.
At the age of fifteen he became organist at Christ Church, Georgetown.
In 1910 he won a scholarship to attend Keble College, Oxford, to study classics.
His mother wanted him to go into the church, but he had a strong inclination to play music.
During the first world war Bruce was posted to France where he pursued his musical talent. Appointed organist of the battalion he would dodge parades to perform mythical choir practice.
He joined the Southern Syncopated Orchestra in 1920. The first big band to popularize black music in Britain. Bruce was chorus master and organist for their season at the London Kingsway Hall.
He devoted himself to deputizing for the leading organists and giving recitals for new organ installations. He opened the Empire Theatre, Edmonton; Adelphi Theatre, Slough and Rialto Cinema, Leytonstone
Bruce invented a new formula for gaining perfection in finger techniques, outlined in the 'Melody Maker' article 'The Ideal Kinema Organ'.
He died 13th August 1968
Extract:- The Untold Stories of Oxford University's Black Scholars
Leslie James
Leslie James was resident at Madam Tussauds.
In 1929 he was billed as the Wurlitzer Organ Exponent.

Broadcast regularly during 1937 to 1938 from the Rialto, Coventry
Opened numerous cinemas including:- Queens Hall, Cricklewood; Majestic Theatre, Clapham; Palace Theatre, Birmingham; Rink, Smethwick; Gaumonts at Chester , Middlesbrough; Haymarket Picture House, Norwich; Plaza, Southampton; Royal Hippodrome, Nottinghasm; City, Leicester; New Victoria in Edinburgh & Bradford.
Laurence James 26th April 1920
I Know Why
Buckingham Town Hall
Wurlitzer
1973
Laurence James organist
Buckingham Town Hall 3/10 Kimball/Wurlitzer
CD insert picture
Radio Times:- BBC Radio 2, 14 May 1970
Hayden Lawrence James was born 26th April 1920 in Bridgend, Wales.
He studied organ under Dr. Peaasgood at Westminster Abbey, spending five years as organist at All Saints' Church, Knightsbridge. Dudley Beaven provided theatre organ tuition.
During the war he toured for ENSA and on release joined Granada Theatres playing at the Granada East Ham.

The console of the Granada’s Wurlitzer organ, which is now installed in a private residence in Cannock, UK.

Between 1948 and 1953 was was featured regularly on the radio, Light, Third and Scottish programs.
In 1952 he was playing Hammond at Eastbourne Winter Gardens.
In 1958 he was playing at Uncle Toms Cabin, Birchington.
Lawrence James died at the console of the organ in the Gaumont, Hammersmith, when playing for the Cinema Organ Society c.1976
Extract:- Theatre Organ Web site
Walford James 9th Jul 1921 - 1994

More information
William John Walford James was born 9th July 1921. Appointments include, Rex, Aberdare; State, Dartford and Capitol, Wembley Park.
He was at the Capitol when he received his call up papers.
Walford James Died 1994 in the district of Carmarthen.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay (1946)
Arthur Jenkins
Arthur Jenkins opened the Troc-ette, Bermondsey and the Tolmer Cinema
1928 - 29 Hippodrome, Nottingham
1934 Regent, Poole
Leslie Jenkins
Broadcasting 1946
Performed concerts at a number of Methodist Churches
1939 - 1949 Ritz, Penzance, also broadcast from this cinema
Extract:- Variouse
Tom Jenkins
Tom Jenkins, a native of Neath, began his musical studies on the piano at the age of seven. Between the ages of twelve and seventeen he was mainly engaged in piano competitions and Eisteddfodau where he won 185 prizes. His piano teacher, who was also an organist in a large church at Neath, began to give him lessons on the organ, but in less than a year the teacher died and Tom Jenkins took his place as the organist at the age of seventeen.
Eighteen months later he became organist and choirmaster, and assisted Dr. Hopkin Evans in forming the Neath Choral Society.
When war broke out he joined the Glamorganshire Yeomanry, where he played the clarinet in the regimental band. After the war he became assistant organist to Frederick Dalrymple at Tredegarville Baptist Church

Cardiff, and also served as organist in two other Cardiff churches.
He left Cardiff to take up a cinema job, and for four years worked as an organist for silent pictures. When the Cardiff Plaza opened, Tom Jenkins was appointed musical director of the orchestra from 1926 to 1931, since when he was organist and manager of the Swansea Plaza. He gave his first broadcast from there in 1932, and subsequently broadcast every week for many years.

Western Daily Press
20 March 1935

Radio Times:- Regional Programme London, 20th December 1938.
Howard D Jennings 18th Jul 1908 - 1979

Origin:- Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust OrganFax page
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Howard David Jennings was born 18th July 1908 in Forest Hill, London.
Started piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1925 took organ lessons under Mr. T. A. Sheppard in Sutton, Surrey. He began his cinema career in 1930.
His appointments included Royalty, Ladbroke Grove; Palladium, Paignton; Regent, Poole; Plaza, Coventry; Majestic, Reigate and organs on the Shipman & King circuit.
He then spent 2½ years with Odeon. Appointed to the Grand Cinema, Southport playing their Compton.
Died 1979 - Wandsworth district, Greater London, England
B. Johnson
1930 B. Johnson was broadcasting on Midland Regional radio 1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Jane McKee Johnson - 1996
LP link icon Jane McKee Johnson Spring Is Bustin' Out All Over Jane McKee Johnson organist
Jane McKee Johnson was born in Seattle, WA, United States.
Jane was Musical Director, Staff Organist and Pianist for KVI radio for three years during the 1940's. She owned and operated McKee Organ & Piano studios in Tacoma for many years. Jane was heard many times at Tacoma's Temple Theatre Kimball organ, most notably during the 1971 ATOS national convention. In 1976, Jane and her husband Homer travelled to England and France where Jane was able to play many Compton and Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs.
Jane had done considerable serious church work, and in 1975 she became Staff Organist for Pizza & Pipes in Tacoma. She accompanied numerous stage shows on the Kimball at the Temple Theatre.
Jane recorded the albums 'Just Playin' Jane' and 'The Second Time Around' on the Tacoma Pizza & Pipes 3/17 Wurlitzer. These fine stereo LPs include "Under the Double Eagle March," "Yellow Days" and many other numbers.
Jane McKee Johnson died 1996
Extract:- Puget Sound Pipeline
Stanley Johnson 24th Sep 1904
Stanley Johnson was born 24th September 1904.
At 16 started as assistant to Warner Yeomans, Christ Church, Harrowgate. This was followed by various church appointments including five years at Queen Ethelbugas Ladies School. Here he gave weekly recitals and gained his L.T.C.L.
In 1929 he got his first cinema appointment at the Central, Harrogate staying for five years. He then spent three years at the Tower, Hull; followed by five years at the Langham before moving to the Dorchester, Hull in 1936.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Bert Johnston 5th May 1911 -
Bert Johnston was born 5th May 1911 in Stranraer, Scotland.
He started music studies at the age of 10 and by 16 was church organist. Moved to Belfast as church organist, choirmaster and music teacher.
Bert studied theatre organ under and was assistant to Cecil Chadwick, then organist at the Classic cinema, Belfast.
He worked for Messers Evans and Barr (organ builders) as a demonstrator, initially on straight organs, later moving on to electronic actuated. He gave many recitals on new installations in churches and and halls in Belfast and other Ulster towns.
He was associated with Joseph Seal at the Ritz cinema, Belfast, broadcasting from there with Joseph Seal.
Bert was appointed organist at the Ritz Cinama, Bradford when it was opened in 1939.
During his time in the Army he spent eight months at the Military Convalescent Depot at Eaton Hall, Chester, the residence of the Duke of Westminster. There were two very nice organs there, one in the Dukes private chapel, the other, a Aeolian Concert Organ. complete with harp, chimes, etc. With the assistance of the Chester Musical or Operatic society gave organ and vocal recitals on a regular basis.
When he returned to his regimental depot he gave recitals in Birmingham and Oldham. As well as these straight recitals did a lot of cinema engagements of organ shows in Sunday concerts.
In 1946 was playing at the Forum Cinema, Liverpool.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Byron Jones
The Welsh Wizard at the Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Henley Town Hall Allen Organ
Borden Rutt Organ
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes +
Hauptwerk Paramount 4/50
Hauptwerk Salisbury Organ
Panis Angelicus
Byron Jones


Hauptwerk logo
Byron Jones was born in 1949 in Risca, Gwent, South Wales - hence the name of The Welsh Wizard.
As a child, he showed great promise on the piano, and then later on the organ. He played in a local church, and developed his style over the years.
Whilst still at school Byron played at the local chapel and then progressed to the working mens clubs of Wales when he was a teenager, accompanying many of the big stars who came to Wales in cabaret - Donald Peers, Ruby Murray and many more.
Byron later progressed to the larger clubs, where he would be engaged to play for artistes straight from the London Palladium.
Since then, over the last thirty years, Byron has played for many Summer Season Spectacular shows, made countless radio broadcasts and made many television appearances in Great Britain and America.
Byron produces his own recordings on CD and DVD and has his own Music Society of loyal fans and friends from all over the world.
Extract:- Byron Jones OrganFax page
C. Jones
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
E. Jones
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Florence De Jong 1894-1990
Compton Theatre Organ of the Regal Cinema Bridlington (1939)
Remembering the Silents

Organist Florence De Jong

BBC logo
Article logo
Florence De Jong was born on August 1, 1896 in Holborn, London, England as Florence Louisa Baga.
She learnt to play the piano while at school.
Along with her sisters she played theatre organ at the Garons cinema Southend-on-Sea
Her first residency was at a cinema in Finsbury park. This was followed by 13 years at the New Gallery playing the Wurlitzer.
Opened the Rialto Cinema, London and Ritz, Sheerness playing a Comptrone, the same instrument at both cinemas.
Florence played for both the Union Castle and Cunard cruise liner companies.
She was married to Louis Morris (Cinema owner) and Herman J De Jong .
Florence De Jong died on July 11, 1990 in Wimbledon, Surrey, England.
Extract:- Various
Herberte Jordan 27th Aug 1889 -
Herberte Jordan was born 27th August 1889.
Started his musical career as a youthful pianist and accompanist. Held many positions as Musical Director and organist.
Was a well known composer and had many works published

in 1946 at the Lyric, Wellingborough
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Fredrick Jukes
Article on the Nuneaton United Reformed Church organists
Fredrick (Fred) R. Jukes was appointed organist at the Nuneaton United Reformed Church in July 1914, having passed his LRAM examination earlier the same year. His appointment as organist continued until 1975. In 1916 he was admitted as an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.
Mr. Jukes served for an undisclosed period in the First World War in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France where he entertained the troops in the area on a captured German Grand Piano. After the war he studied for a time at Culdine before returning to the Midlands becoming theatre organist at the Regal Cinema, Leamington.
Extract:- Various
Geoffrey Keith 20th Apr 1914 - Dec 2000
Geoffrey Keith organist
Image from Theatre Organ World
Geoffrey Newman Keith was born 20th April 1914. Studied under Edwin Crusha, Edmunton.
Assistant to Leslie James, Regent;Alex Taylor & Harold Ramsey Granada. Opened Regal, Winchester
Broadcast for Radio Normandy. Called up to the R.A.F. in 1940. Was engaged in maintenance work, later due to fluency in languages acted as liaison for the Polish Fighter Wing, No 317 Squadron. Later worked on technical research on the German A/C M.E. 109 and the F.W. 190. Demobilised with the rank Sergeant.
Returned to playing at the Savoy, Wandsworth .
Opened the Odeon Cinema Winchester
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Phil Kelsall M.B.E
Dance time at the Tower Ballroom Blackpool
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Plays for dancing
More dance music
very unusual take on the changeover waltz
At The Buttermarket
Slow Foxtrot Tower Ballroom
Dardanella Tower Ballroom

Old Standards
Lillie
Borsalino
We're All Alone
Raining In My Heart
Bright Eyes
Organist Phil Kelsall M.B.E

ATOS logo



Ian Wolstenholme interviews Phil Kelsall in 1983
Ian Wolstenholme interviews Phil Kelsall in 2017
Phil Kelsall has now completed over 40 years playing the Wurlitzer in the Blackpool Tower's Ballroom, having been appointed in 1975, initially as organist in the Tower Circus band with occasional appearances in the Ballroom.
In 1977 Ernest Broadbent the then Tower organist, retired through ill-health and Phil was the obvious choice as the new principal resident organist.
Phil has met many famous people throughout his career however meeting the Queen at the Tower Ballroom on the occasion of the Tower's centenary celebrations in 1994 is without doubt his most memorable meeting. Television and film crews never seem to be far away from the Tower Ballroom and Phil has been filmed on numerous occasions.
The demands on Phil for concert appearances have always been heavy and his touring season begins at the end of October and continues until May each year when he returns to the Tower Ballroom for the summer season. A significant engagement is playing the Wurlitzer at the Thursford Collection for their season of Christmas shows, which runs to around 70 performances each year. Phil performs frequent concerts in the the USA and has undertaken a highly successful tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Phil Kelsall's first recording, Thank You for the Music, was released by EMI in 1978. Together with recordings made on various electronic instruments, notably the Technics SX FA1, Phil has over 40 albums to his credit. t has been estimated that he now has more recordings available than any other organist in the world. No fewer than three of Phil's recordings have won the Music Retailers Association's award as best middle of the road non-vocal recording. In the summer of 2001 a compilation double album of some of his light classical recordings was released on the prestigious Universal Classics label and in its first week entered the Classical Albums Chart as the highest new entry of the week at number six. Phil's album was to remain in the Classic Top 20 for an amazing twelve consecutive weeks, an unprecedented achievement for a theatre organ album.
It is in recognition of Phil Kelsall's contribution to the world of organ music that several other honours have been bestowed upon him. He has held the title of 'Organ World Personality of the Year' and he was elected Patron of the Theatre Organ Club on four occasions. In 1987 he was voted President of the Theatre Organ Club, and is only the second person to hold this office in the Club's long history.
In 1993, Phil Kelsall was particularly proud to receive the coveted Gold Badge Award of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for his service to the British music industry.
Phil was extremely proud to have unexpectedly received the MBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to music.
Extract:- Phil Kelsall Web site
Peter Kenyon 24th Apr 1915 -
Peter Kenyon was born 24th April 1915. He started music studies under private tuition at an early age.
Peters first cinema appointment was in 1933 at the Astoria, Purley.
Other appointments included; Forum, Ealing; Ritz,
Richmond; Regal, Waltham Green. All for A.B.C.
In 1938 Peter joined the Odeon company and toured the Thames Valley with his base being the Ambassador, Hounslow.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Peter Kilby 11th Nov 1916
Peter Kilby
Peter Kilby was born on 11th November 1916 in London.
He started playing piano at the age of 4 and organ at 14. Peter was appointed organist at Lady Bary Church, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
In 1936 Peter opened the Palace at Chatham. he transferred to the Palace, Derby then the Regent, Sheffield (1939).
Peter was unfit for military service but served three years in the Army Auxiliary Motor Repair Shop.
On discharge he took an appointment with G.B. playing Hammond at the Regent Dance Hall and Wurlitzer in Brighton. While there he formed a eight piece band.
1952 at the Regal, Torquay
Broadcast regularly 1945 to 1956
In 1963 he opened the ABC Hanley using the ABC Hammond touring organ.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Geoffrey King
Geoffrey King opened the Apollo Picture Playhouse, Birmingham.
In 1944 was playing at the Westgate Cinema, Newcastle and the Scala, Leeds
H. Vernon Kington 3rd Jul 1880 - 1951
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
In 1894 was working for Midland railway as an office boy 1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Horace Vernon Kington was born 1880 in Derby.
A pupil of T. H. Bennet, A. Rawlinson Wood, N. B. Hibbert and Percy Wood.

Moved to the Ritz Cinema Bradford in 1941 from the Cecil Cinema in Hull after it had been bombed.
H. Vernon Kington died in 1951
Paul Kirner
Happy Feet - Christie organ
Noel Gay Medley - Compton organ
Georgia's Gotta Moon - Christie organ
In Love For The Very First Time - CONN 651
Re-birth Of The Regal Edmonton Christie
Paul-Kirner-organist
© Paul Kirner.
If you woyld like to use the image to promote an event featuring Paul then click for a larger version
1962 - 1964 Studied church pipe organ at Ratcliffe College with Adrian Smith, experimenting with popular music on his fathers Lowrey Organ.
1965-1966 further private tuition with Charles D. Smart and Ena Baga on Hammond.
On leaving school 1964 played three months Autumn Season at the Christie Granada Rugby Saturday Evenings, with additional mid-week seasons at Granada Theatres at Slough, Edmonton, Greenford and Mansfield.
1965 - 1969 Playing his own Hammond C3 for Courage Inns, then Cabaret backing and featured music London and Home Counties. Released LP and EP on Hammond.
1970 First Summer Season at Aberystwyth, Promade Banstand and Kings Hall, for Stanley Osborne. Plus late summer season at Isle of Man, Douglas Sea Terminal (Featured music plus Cabaret & Dancing).
1971-1972-1973 Summer Seasons at the Suncastle, Skegness, also appearing at the Embassy and Festival Pavilion.
1974 Eight month Summer Season at Villa Marina Royal Hall and Villa Marina Gardens, and Palace Ballroom, Douglas Isle of Man.
1975 Return season at Aberystwyth Bandstand and Kings Hall with Hazel & The Paul Kirner Sound for John Mann.
1970 - 1975 Accompanying Pantomime Christmas Seasons with pianist and drummer at Woodville Hall Gravesend, Kings Theatre Southsea, Civic Theatre Camberley, Opera House Buxton, Grand Theatre Leek and Hoe Theatre Plymouth.
1972 - 1984 Touring Clubland with own act "Hazel & The Paul Kirner Sound" (Instrumental, Vocal & Comedy). Playing Clubs, Variety Theatres, Bingo Circuits (Ladbrokes, Regent, Gala Clubs, Zetters etc.) LP released by SRT Productions. Topped the bill at four "Clubland Command Performances".
1979 Opened the small Compton at the Lodge with John Mann. 1984 Opened Compton Lodge as a full time fully licensed music venue with daily shows for Coach Parties and Sunday Organ Concerts. Slowly expanded Compton to become a 4 manual with 20 units (13 Wurlitzer) with Melotone & Wurlitzer Upright Piano. Presented over 330 shows every year. Now occasional Organ Shows with Paul and Guest Organists.
2009 - Purchased the ex-Gaumont Manchester 4/14 Wurlitzer from LTOT - presently on hire to Folly Farm Leisure at Killgetty, near Tenby, West Wales.
2016 Opened Paul Kirner's Music Palace in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley with ex-Regal Edmonton 4/15 Christie Organ. Charitable status application pending. Will house four theatre pipe organs, (by Christie, Compton and Wurlitzer) plus Compton Theatrone & Hammond LaFleur electronics. Over twenty classic electronic instruments on display.
2017 Paul voted Patron of The Theatre Organ Club.
Don Knights 1914
Don Khights organist
Origin:- Discogs
Don Knights was born 1914 in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
Studied organ under Norman Collie at St. Marys Church, Stoke Newington.

Photograph by John Salmon.

At the age of 12 Don played a series of services for the Bishop of London. (Bishop Ingram)

Arthur Winnington-Ingram

Had theatre organ lessons from Leslie Simpson at the Regent, Stamford Hill.
Don played for Granada for three years, then three years with A.B.C. at the Majestic, Mitcham.
Called up in 1940 and served in U.K. Belgium and Germany. Demobbed in February 1946.
In March 1946 Don was appointed to the Odeon Theatre, Watford.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Maria Kumagai
Maria Kumagai
Maria Kumagai was born in Japan. She became interested in the piano when she was seven. Several years later she heard a recording of a theatre organ for the first time, quite unusual as there is only one theatre organ in Japan.
Wanting to learn the theatre organ Maria Kumagai moved to the USA where she introduced herself to Bill Thompson who became her teacher. Maria made rapid progress and Bill suggested she included classical studies, this she did with Richard Purvis.
Two years after arriving in the USA Maria Kumagai performed a concert in a Cathedral. She soon received invitations to play at a number of prestigious venues in the USA and also abroad including England, Europe, Australia and the country of her birth Japan.
With little warning Maria returned to Japan, nothing has been heard of her since.
Extract:- Organ Celebrities 24
Lyndon Laird
Lyndon Laird orgaist
at the Console of the Paramount Cinema Glasgow Compton
stories of London
Lyndon Laird opened the Astoria and Capitol Cinemas, Edinburgh.
He also played the Paramount Cinema, Glasgow
Doris Lamb 28th Sep 1898 - 1974
Doris Lamb organist
Origin:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Doris Kathleen Lamb was born 28th September 1898.
Doris studied pianoforte, singing and violin at Ashley House School, Worksop, and gained a diploma A.L.C.M. for pianoforte in 1915. Then gained a diploma A.R.C.M. for singing (performer) in 1922.
She studied under Eva Rich
Miss Eva Rich was one of the most prominent of Sheffield musicians.
Miss Rich made her debut at three years of age. She was intended for a scholastic career, and was educated at the Central Secondary School, and afterwards at the Pupil Teachers' Training College, but her musical activities interrupted this work, and from the age of 14 to 18 Miss Rich had a series of successes which is seldom achieved until a much later age.
At 14 she took principal soprano part in Flotow's "Marta," and at 15 she played the role of Santuzza ("Cavalleria Rusticana") in Vadini's Opera Company. She conducted the "Messiah" when 18 years of age, and soon after was offered engagements by Sir Henry Wood, at the Promenade Concerts, Queen's Hall, London.
Her studies were taken in Sheffield under Miss Marie Foxon and in London under Sir Henry Wood and Mr TC Fairbairn, the principal of the London School of Opera. She sang important solos at Sheffield Festivals, and was soloist at the first Scottish Festival (held in Aberdeen).
Miss Rich relinquished all work of this kind in 1920, but her experience was of the utmost value to her many pupils.
Extract:- Who's Who In Sheffield
Church organ studies were under Allan Stephenson
b.1891 - d.1950
Hon.R.C.M., F.R.C.O., F.R.S.A. Organist at Coventry Cathedral, 1933-40
Extract:- Variouse
. In 1917 Doris began her musical career as a teacher of pianoforte, singing and violin. Between 1918 and 1922 she was orchestral pianist at the Gaiety Theatre, Worksop. She left the Gaiety theatre to become a professional singer.
In 1927 she joined she joined Gaumont British at the Grand, Gainsborough. Her first appointment as a cinema organist was in 1933 at the New Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue and was relief organist at New Gallery, Regent Street.
In 1942 Doris joined Associated British playing at the Piccadilly, Sparkbrook, she then moved to the Regal, Handsworth.
Died 1974 in the district Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
Stanley Lambert
Stanley Lambert opened the Coliseum Cinema, Harrow and Regal Cinema, Highams Park.
In 1973 he was a managing director, at Lambert, Nicholson & Co
Don Lorusso
See Don Compton
Herbie Laws
1924 Herbie Laws was at the Coliseum, Whitley Bay 1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Jack Lawton 29th Apr 1909 - 2000
Veteran organist Jack Lawton, who stared alongside Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd, George Formby and Stan Laurel died at the age of 91. Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire 29th April 1909, he started playing the piano at 11, performing regularly at his local Methodist church.
After taking a job with a trio at a nearby cafe, he landed a contract with BBC Radio, and went on to form his own nine- piece orchestra. He divided his time between gigs with the band throughout Yorkshire and regular performances on the Christie cinema organ at the Capitol, Didsbury, Manchester.
After appearing in a summer show in London, Jack landed the prized job of pianist in the first class quarters of the luxury liner Queen Mary. On one voyage a young Marlene Dietrich was so taken with his style she invited him to Hollywood. But bored with life at sea and unimpressed by the lure of Tinsel Town, he returned home to become resident organist playing the Wurlitzer at the Paramount Cinema in Leeds.
In 1938 he went to Germany with the Tropical Express variety show.
A musical cosmopolitan revue visited Empire, Kingston, during the two wars - with a romantic figure as the proprietor - Professor Dorley, who toured the world's best theatres with his productions, that whirlwind success. The Tropical Express and Dorley's Rocket.
I will give a brief account of the Tropical Express as I staged it at Kingston. It was billed as a super production of one hundred scenes - in a spectacular two-hour show presented twice nightly. The company consisted of eighty performers - these artists came from every country (with few exceptions) in the world including Chinese, Peruvians, Indians, Mexicans and even Finns - were among this heterogeneous collection of artists, and animals, for they too played a very important part in this mammoth production.
Extract:- Memories of Show Business by Percy G Court, 1953
Jack found himself giving a concert in Hitler's own night club in Munich shortly before war broke out, and missed bumping into the Fuhrer by five minutes. He finally decided to retreat after getting into a boozing session with a Leipzig cafe owner only to find he was a senior SS member.
Jack returned to Britain, married first wife Renee, and was called up as an RAF instrument technician though he spent most of the war entertaining the troops and playing for various star variety shows.
In the fifties he toured Britain with leading comedy showband Dr Crock and His Crackpots,
Harry Hines AKA Doctor Crock (1911-1971) recorded with Spike Hughes, Ambrose and Ray Noble in the 1930s.
In March 1947, he was asked by Radio Promoter Maurice Winnick, to form a comedy band to replace Sid Millward and the Nitwits, on a BBC radio show called "Ignorance is Bliss". They were to be called "Professor Crock And His Crackpots". He later changed this to "Doctor Crock". Hines agreed and formed the band. In July 1947, Hines decided to leave the show and go on the road with his new band. Winnick said they could not do that as he created and owned the name. It went to Court. The case is on record "Hines Vs. Winnick" 1947. Hines won, so they went on the road for the next 15 years. They worked mainly on the "Moss Empires" circuit, such as "Hackney Empire", and "Finsbury Park Empire", as well as many other Variety Theatres all over Great Britain.

Extract:- Biography
then ran a series of summer shows on Cleethorpes pier.
After a divorce, he took his act to Southport, where he met vocalist Shirley Constable, with whom he struck up an immediate musical and personal relationship. After marrying, he and Shirley who took the stage name King returned to Cleethorpes. They appeared in summer seasons on the pier, before moving to the resort's Winter Gardens, where they launched a cabaret night, which ran for 25 years.
Jack was still playing at weekly tea dances at 86.
Jack Lawton died in 2000
Extract:- Jack Lawton obituary (The Stage)
Ann Leaf 28th Jun 1906 - 3rd Apr 1995
At the Wurlitzer tracks
Ann Leaf plays
And This Is My Beloved
Ann Leaf plays
Inspiration
Ann Leaf plays
People
Ann Leaf plays
Blusette
Ann Leaf plays
Bali Ha'i
Ann Leaf plays
Blue Violins
Ann Leaf plays
Waltz on a Cloud
Ann Leaf plays
Dance of the Comedians
Ann Leaf plays
Shangri-La
Ann Leaf plays
Port au Prince
Ann Leaf plays
Noche Caribe
Ann Leaf ATOS link logo 1981
Ann Leaf was born 28th June 1906 in Omaha Nebraska.
Due to her height was called the Mighty Mite.
Her signature tune was her own composition and was called 'In Time'.
Her debut recording was Ann Leaf at the Mighty Wurlitzer.
Ann made her first concert debut at the age of 11 playing piano. She moved from piano to theatre organ and aged 17 became organist at the Graumen Million Dollor Theatre.
She married Elias Halevy Kleinert.
In 1929 she started working for the Columbia Broadcasting System. Initially Ann played the Paramount Studio Wurlitzer as used by Jesse Crawford. Eventually CBS installed a Kimbal organ and added a few pipes, Ann used this instrument to make numerous broadcasts.
During the fifties Ann played the Wurlitzer organ at the Rainbow Centre New York.
Ann Lief died 3rd April 1995.
Extract:- Organ Celebrities
Derek Leask
Derek Leask organist

Advert 1967
Image © The Stage Media Company Limited
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
1946 Playing the Odeon Circuit.
1954 Cove Pavilion, Westo-super-mare
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Leonard Leigh
Leonard Leigh
Leonard Leigh became organist for the KsSTP radio station in 1934, a post he held for 13 years. He played a Robert Morton organ for the broadcasts.
During the 1920s Leonard had held a number of cinema organ appointments.
In 1947 Leonard moved to Hollywood. When work for theatre organists dried up he moved to demonstrating Hammond organs, he then moved to Baldwin where be became sales manager for the Arizona region.
Extract:- Organ Celebrities
Norris Leslie
1938 Regal, Leamington Spa.
1939 Regent, Leamington Spa
1940 Tower, West Bromwich
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Various
Leroy Lewis 7th May 1935 - 2000
Merengues
Café de Costa Rica
Panama
El Cumbanchero
La Botijuela-Panamá Soberana
Hava Nagila
Tamboreras Panameñas
Leroy Lewis
Born in Reading, Pa., Leroy Lewis started playing the piano at the age of 3.
At 14 years old, he was playing professionally.
Leroy Lewis was just a teenager when he played his first theatre pipe organ, a mighty Wurlitzer seen commonly in large churches -- when he visited a church in Ohio.
Leroy Lewis was playing at the Promenade in Newark NJ when he was heard by George Bowles, owner of the Surf City Hotel on Long Beach Island. Engaged by Bowles to play at the Surf City Hotel in 1957, Leroy Lewis assisted by Ted Campbell, an organ technician, installed the first visual (pipes behind glass, allowing all the pipes to be seen) Wurlitzer Theatre Organ in the United States. At that time Leroy Lewis was only 21 years old.
From The Surf City Hotel, Lewis opened at the newly-built Lighthouse Inn on Long Beach Island. In the early 60s, Lewis met John Doyle, at that time manager of the Panama Hilton Hotel in Panama City , Panama. Doyle was anxious to present Lewis at the El Panama and give him the freedom to choose any Wulitzer organ he desired. Lewis selected the three-manual, 27-rank Wurlitzer originally installed in the Stanley-Warner Theatre, Atlantic City.
In 1989, he retired and moved to Central Florida, but he still played periodically in various clubs and other venues in the area.
At the age of 65 Leroy Lewis died of cancer.
Extract:- Various
V. Johnson Lewis
V. Johnson Lewis organist
Origin:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
V. Johnson Lewis was born 1912 in Birmingham.
Educated at King Edwards School but left in 1930 to study piano, organ and theoretical subjects with Dr. Wolstenholme
William Wolstenholme was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 24th Feb 1865. He was blind from birth and was educated at the Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen. He showed considerable promise as a musician and impressed Henry Smart who agreed to take him as a pupil. Alas, Smart died before lessons began. He was duly trained in music by Dr William Done of Worcester. He also studied the violin under Edward Elgar. In 1887 Wolstenholme went up to Oxford University where he later graduated as a Bachelor of Music.
Click to Read more:
and Dr Chris Edmunds, gaining the Trinity College London Diploma in Music Theory in 1931.
He studied theatre organ with Reginald New at the Beaufort Cinema, Washwood Heath, becoming his assistant, and playing piano with him in organ/piano duets broadcast from that theatre in 1933.
Opened and then spent five years at the Astoria, Boscombe then toured the L. Morris Theatres. This was followed by three years with A.B.C. at Kidderminster and Birmingham as organist/assistant manager.
Returned to L. Morris to re-open the Rialto, Coventry Street as manager and organist (playing a Compton Theatrone).
In 1941 played at the Pavilion, Stirchley
Joined Granada in 1943 and toured the circuit for 18 months. In 1944 he joined Odeon Theatres Ltd. at the Odeon-Astoria, Old Kent Road.
In 1945 broadcast from the Odeon, Swiss Cottage. He then transferred to the Odeon, Weston Super Mare, doing the occasional tour.
Moved to the New Palace, Bristol in 1949.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay + other sources
Rudy Lewis
BBC Broadcast, Trocadero Cinema, Elephant & Castle Rudy Lewis organist
Origin:- Theatre Organ World

Rudy Lewis was born Rubin Lipshitz
in 1913 in the district of Fulham, London.
At the age of 5 he displayed unmistakable musical talent. He won an L.C.C. Musical Scholarship. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music under York Bowen

Before the first world war York Bowen had a formidable reputation as a pianist and composer and was considered to be one of Britain's finest pianists.
Extract:- Web site
and G.D. Cunningham.

George Dorrington Cunningham (Oct 2, 1878 - Aug 4, 1948) was an important concert organist.
Born in London to musical parents, Cunningham studied piano with his mother, subsequently switching to organ at the Guildhall School of Music.
Upon graduation he studied with Josiah Booth at Park Chapel, Crouch End, North London. From there he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Music, where he became an FRCO at age eighteen and organist of the Alexandra Palace at twenty-two, in 1901.
Extract:- Wikipeida Web site
Rudy left the Academy after four years study with a teachers diploma and a certificate for the highest award of that institution.
His first public appearance was made at the age of 18 at Dukes Hall, London, performing Greig's piano concerto with a symphony orchestra conducted by B. Walton O'Donnell
http://www.gpollenmusic.co.uk/odonnells-bio.html
Extract:- O'Donell family history
. His first professional job was as pianist and accordionist in a Tanfo band. This was followed by a job in a resident stage band at a cinema.
He went on to become organist at at the Gaumont Palace, Lewisham and touring the Union Cinema circuit. At the outbreak of war he joined ENSA as pianist and accordionist in charge of a concert party.
On demobilisation was appointed to the State, Kilburn, staying there for six years then transfered to the Trocadero, Elephant & Castle.
Rudy was a regular broadcaster for both classical and dance music.

Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
Wyndham George Lewis
Biographical Dictionary of the Organ
Wyndham George Lewis was born 1910 in Briton Ferry, Wales.
Organist at Empire Theatre, Cardiff and Regal, Kingston-on-Thames
In 1934 he opened the Theatre De Luxe, Gloucester. He was also theatre manager at the cinema.


1940 Playing Compton at the Rialto Coventry

Leslie James recorded at the Rialto but other than that no reference to an organ here can be found
Ronald Linton b. 22nd Jan 1910
Ronald Linto organist
Origin- Theatre Organ World
Ronald Linton was born 22nd January 1910 in Liverpool.
He studied organ, violin and piano and won a gold medal for sight reading at 16, he then began his career as a professional musician.
After playing for silent movies in cinemas and some concert party work he decided to see the world, playing in ships orchestras on trips to West Africa and Canada.
On returning home he toured all the No. 1 dates with 'The Chocolate Soldier'
The Chocolate Soldier is an operetta composed in 1908 by Oscar Straus, based on George Bernard Shaw's 1894 play, Arms and the Man.

He also played in the John Borelli's (Blore) production of 'Tulip Time'
TULIP TIME

Based on a Book by Worton David & Alfred Parker.
Music, Colin Wark.
Lyrics, Bruce Sievier.
London run, Alhambra Theatre, Leicester Sq.
The show ran for 425 performances.

Ronald studied Hammond organ under Frederic Bayco and played Hammond at Earls Court. He was resident organist at the Gaumont Palace, Plymouth when he was called up for Army service.
Ronald spent 5½ years in the Somerset Light Infantry, playing in the Royal Berkshire Band on a number of occasions.
On demobilisation was appointed resident organist at the Gaumont Palace, Chatham.
Reginald Liversidge 13th Jan 1909 - 17th Oct 1979
Reginald Liversidge organist
Origin- Theatre Organ World
George Reginald Liversidge was born 13th January 1909 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
He trained as a church organist under Ernest Cooper and played his first church service at the age of 9.
His first cinema appointment was in 1924 playing a reed organ in the silent picture orchestra at the Star Picture House, Huddersfield.
His first theatre organ appointment was as deputy orchestral organist at the Astoria, Charring Cross Road. In 1927 he was appointed solo organist at at the Savoy Cinema, Darley Street, Bradford.
Reginald opened his first theatre organ at the Ambassador Cinema, Pendleton in 1928, staying there for five years.
In 1937 he was appointed as musical advisor to John Buckley Theatres, opening the last three Christie Theatre organs built by Christie, they were at Bolton; Salford and Chorley.
Was a regular broadcaster on the BBC, his first broadcast was on 18th September 1934 on the Christie organ at the Pyramid, Sale
Reginald served in the RAF for a short period, discharged as medically unfit in 1941.
In 1946 was playing the Lido Cinemas in Bolton, Carlton & Salford and the Plaza, Chorley
Extract:- Theatre Organ World by Jack Courtnay
David Lobban
Blackpool's Empress Ballroom
Tower Wurlitzer - Rumba Medley
Blackpools Opera House - Quiet Village
Blackpool Opera House Wurlitzer
Around The World In 80 Tunes
Organist David Lobban
David Lobban has been playing organ and piano ever since he completed his apprenticeship as a pipe organ builder with Hill, Norman & Beard in 1977. In that year he emigrated to Canada and played organ in a number of venues including ice hockey stadia and circuses.
On his return to the UK in 1988 David had a number of different jobs including Resident Organist at ‘The Bygone Village’, Musical Director for the ‘Gerry Cottles Circus’ and show/keyboard player and cocktail pianist on a cruise ship.
In 1992 he joined the team of organists at the Blackpool Tower playing the famous Wurlitzer.
Extract:- David Lobban COS page
Extract:- David Lobban COS page
Arthur Lord 1921 - 2010
Arthur Lord
Arthur Lord Started playing the piano at the age of 5 then moved on to the organ with V. Johnson Lewis at the Astoria Boscombe.
Arthur had his first engagement at the age of 16 with Union Cinemas as assistant to Robinson Clever. Six months later he was appointed to the Rivoli at Southend on Sea.
On the outbreak of war Arthur transferred to the Piccadilly in Birmingham. Arthur joined the R.A.F. in 1940 and demobbed in 1946. He was reinstated by A.B.C. and appointed to the Ritz Aldershot and Ritz Woking.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Eric Lord
Medley - Conn 652 electronic theatre organ in 1985
Playing in the style of Jesse Crawford
Organist Eric Lord

Ian Wolstenholme interviews Eric Lord
Eric Lord held a number of cinema organ appointments between 1935 and 1940. He was eventually appointed resident organist at the Paramount Cinema Newcastle Upon Tyne.
He served in the RAF and on return to civvy street returned to the Paramount.
When cinema organs lost popularity Eric became a cinema manager.
He left the world of the cinema and joined Lowery as a demonstrator.
During the 70s and 80s Eric Lord was the presenter of the radio program 'Organ Showcase' on BBC Radio Blackburn.
Extract:- Organ Celebreties
B. Lowe
1946 working for Associated British.
Extract:- Theatre Organ World
Arnold Loxam 13th May 1916 - 14th Mar 2010
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (1)
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (2)
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer (3)
Louth Town Hall Compton
CasaLoma 1992
Organist Arnold Loxam

Arnold Loxam was born 30th May 1916 in Wibsey, West Yorkshire.
Arnold gave his first broadcast there as a child pianist in 1925. Arnold Loxam made his first appearance on the Wurlitzer theatre organ at the then New Victoria cinema in Bradford.
In 1946 he began playing regularly for New Victoria audiences and broadcasting from the theatre for BBC Radio. He was appointed deputy organist playing every Sunday and deputized for Norman Briggs until 1948.
Arnold was famous for his bouncy playing style.
He gave his first solo broadcast on the BBC Theatre Organ on 29 November 1947.
The association with Bradford continued until 1962 when the BBC switched its broadcasts to the Leeds Odeon.
Arnold Loxam met his future wife in 1948 when she was working at the New Victoria as an usherette. Mrs Audrey Annie Loxam was his driver for 25 years, chauffeuring him around to fulfil a busy schedule of engagements in this country and overseas.
Arnold Loxam died 14th March 2010 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
Extract:- Arnold Loxam Wikipedia page
Allan Lusty
Allan Lusty organist
Allan Lusty was born 29th November 1911.
Trained at Newport, Monmouth, Cathedral, took A.R.C. diploma and was assistant organist for three years.
Allan studied theatre organ under Edgar Peto. He hade appointments at the Coliseum, Harrow and with Bernstein Theatres. He was at the Rex, Coventry when he was called up for national service in 1940.
He served for 6 years (3½ years in North Africa and Itally) in the Royal Corps of Signals, reaching the rank of Acting Captain. During 1945-6 he held the post of organist at St. Pauls American Church, Rome.
On demobilisation was appointed to the Havana, Romford.
Gene Lynn
Gene Lynn organist
Castle Cinema Christie
Photograph Courtesy of Gordon Crook
Click for full picture and more information
Radio Times 1923 - 2009
Emlyn Jones aka. Gene Lynn toured the U.S.A. and Canada as accompanist and organist for the Rhondda Welsh Singers. This tour lasted four years, after which he was engaged at Proctors Theatre, Schenectady, New York. He remained in the States for ten years, playing at Miami and Buffalo. On his return to England he was organist at the Castle Super Cinema Merthyr Tydfil, broadcasting from here regularly between 1937 & 1939
1943 playing at the Ritz, Penzance

Quick link to names beginning with :- A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W