Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. (Opus 2187, 1934)

Location:

Blackpool Tower
Bank Hey Street
Blackpool, FY1 4BJ GB
Ballroom
Organ ID: 66181

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Amusements: Skating Rinks, etc.
  • The organ is unaltered from its original state.
  • The organ's condition is good, in regular use.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Jacob Woods on September 02, 2020.

Technical Details:

  • 14 ranks. 1,022 pipes. 4 divisions. 3 manuals. 144 stops.
Main Console:
  • Built by The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.
  • Manuals: 3
  • Divisions: 4
  • Stops: 144
  • Position: Console on lift.
  • Manual Compass: 61
  • Pedal Compass: 32
  • Key Action: Electrical connection from key to chest.
  • Stop Action: Electric connection between stop control and chest.
  • Console Style: Horseshoe style console.
  • Stop Controls: Stop keys in horseshoe curves.
  • Combination Action: Adjustable combination pistons.
  • Combination Action Name: Solid State Relay
  • Swell Control Type: Balanced swell shoes/pedals, AGO standard placement.
  • Pedalboard Type: Concave radiating pedalboard meeting AGO Standards.
  • Has Crescendo Pedal
  • Has Combination Action Thumb Piston(s)
  • Has Combination Action Toe Piston(s)
We received the most recent update for this console from Jacob Woods on September 02, 2020.
Jacob Woods on September 02, 2020:

The organ was shipped to the U.K. in December of 1934, and installed in early 1935. This new 3/13 Wurlitzer replaced the 1929 2/10 Style 205SP Wurlitzer. The new organ, termed the "Wonder Wurlitzer" was built to Reginald Dixon's own specification, based on the 3/19 Balaban 4, but scaled down to fit in the Ballroom chambers. From very early in its life the organ was amplified, with microphones just outside the chamber shutters and very prominently heard on the percussion. The old 2/10 Wurlitzer was enlarged to match the new 2187's specification and installed at the Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens. Following the Second World War several changes were made: 1. Addition of a 14th Rank: the Tuba Mirabilis was installed, giving the organ 2 Tubas (the other being the Tuba Harmonic), and both quite smooth in sound. 2. The Upright "Phantom Piano" was replaced with a 7' Bechstein Grand Piano, said to be from the Blackpool Opera House (Opus 2229, 1939). 3. The Quint & Tierce Couplers were installed. After a visit with Reginald Foort (of the 5/27 touring Moeller) trick couplers were seen as a way to increase the organ's volume. These couplers were installed along the top of the solo stoprail, replacing some 2' stops. The Quint Coupler couples at the 2 2/3 pitch (rather than the 5 1/3 pitch found on many organs) and the [Sub]-Tierce Coupler at the 3 1/5 pitch (as opposed to 6 2/5 found on other organs). The couplers were first installed on Opus 2037 at the Empress Ballroom, and then eventually at the Tower Ballroom. 4. The Vox Humana, which was rather underpowered for usage in the Ballroom, was replaced with a Solo String (no celeste), made by Rodgers, as was the Mirabilis. Eventually these are said to have been replaced by the corresponding Wurlitzer ranks from the nearby Opera House Wurlitzer (Opus 2229).

The Tower Ballroom suffered a devastating fire in 1956 and though the organ was okay, the console and piano were badly damaged. The console from Wurlitzer Opus 2228 was used for parts to repair the damage. It was after this rebuilding that the red bench appeared, the rectangular division names, and the lift. Previously the console was placed on a platform that would slide out from the back of the stage. The new lift, and British Klockner equipment, was installed, complete with sliding trapdoor and scissor lift, centre stage.

The Bechstein Grand Piano from the Guamont Manchester (Wurlitzer Opus 2189) was installed to replace the damaged one, that is believed to have been from the Opera House.

During the 1980s a solid-state relay system was installed to replace the old setter-boards and electro-pneumatic relays.

During the late 1990s the old Bechstein grand piano became increasingly worn, and was replaced with a MIDI piano module about 1999. The Bechstein is still back stage and supposedly the 1935 upright phantom piano is also still on site.

The console specification remains unaltered and does not feature increased general pistons, multiple levels of piston memory, or any other modern additions.

We received the most recent update for this note from Jacob Woods on September 02, 2020.

Jim Stettner on September 02, 2020:

Accordin to the Blackpool Tower website, "The first Wurlitzer organ was installed in the Ballroom in 1929. It was replaced in 1935 with one to Reginald Dixon’s specification."

We received the most recent update for this note from Jim Stettner on September 02, 2020.
Taken from photographs of the console. Recorded for my own usage and put in a colour-coded PDF (pity the colours did not load here).: Open In New Tab Originally published 2017
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Jacob Woods on September 02, 2020.

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