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3/9 Mighty Compton
Ryhope Community Centre
Ryhope, Sunderland, England

Click here to download a 3072 x 2304 JPG image showing the 3/9 Mighty Compton at the Ryhope Community Centre.
The 3/9 Mighty Compton at Ryhope
Original photo by Carl Heslop



This month's featured organ is the beautiful white and gold 3/9 Mighty Compton Theatre Pipe Organ that was original to the Sunderland Odeon Theatre. It is now installed at the Ryhope Community Centre at Tyne and Wear SR2 0RY in Ryhope, Sunderland, England. Being the first Compton instrument to be covered in these pages, it is the fifty-seventh instrument to be featured at Walnut Hill Productions.

All of the photos depicting this majestic machine were supplied by the illustrious Carl Heslop, known in the internet community as comtonorganist on deviantART. You can find the original pictures in his gallery. THe text was taken from various website searches on the intstrument.

In 1975 the late Ray Cook, then manager at the Odeon suggested to one or two people interested in the organ that a society be formed to look after the organ with view to getting it into playing condition again, then free use of the organ would be available to the society members. This was carried out.

The society grew from strength to strength, and members were encouraged to play the organ. Weekly meetings being held every Sunday morning, so that work on the organ could be carried out or just to sit and talk and drink tea or coffee. Monthly members concerts were also arranged by members to entertain anyone interested. Over the years, the Society engaged several well known organists including Reginald Dixon on two occasions, Ron Curtis, Doreen Chadwick, and Rippon Cathedral organist Ron Perrin and his choir.

Click here to download a 3522 x 2356 JPG image showing a lady the playing the 3/9 Mighty Compton.
The 3/9 Mighty Compton at Sunderland.
Original photo by Carl Heslop

Due to the success of these concerts, the Rank Organisatsion became interested and put on some shows themselves with guest organists such as Jess Yates, Folley Bates and Douglas Reeve from the Dome Brighton. Phil Kelsall, player of the Tower Ballroom Blackpool Mighty WurliTzer, gave the final concert at the theatre on the 28th of March, 1982. This date was exactly 50 years to the day when the Odeon first opened.

Click here to download a 3504 x 2316 JPG image showing a the 3/9 Mighty Compton at the Regal/Odeon Theatre in Sunderland, England.
3/9 Mighty Compton at the Regal/Odeon in Sunderland.
Original photo by Carl Heslop

Arnold Eagle remained based at the Regal (he was also Musical Director for the company) until 1946, and during his stay lessons were arranged for a young man who became assistant organist from 1938 - 1940 before moving on to greater things with ABC, Stanley Wyllie latterly of Ritz Belfast fame. During Eagle's tenure there were a series of 'house' organists to fill in when his other duties called him away from the organ. circuit was absorbed by the Rank organisation in 1959 being renamed Odeon and in 1974 the auditorium was tripled, happily, the organ was retained.

The Compton was little used post war. Eventually the news came through that the theatre was going to close and be turned into a bingo hall. The organ was purchased by the society and was removed some time after closure. In 1976 restoration began by the newly formed 'Sunderland Odeon Organ Society' and by 1980 regular concerts were being presented. This state was short lived however, when the Odeon closed in 1982, the building was stripped of its fixtures and fittings and the organ was sold to the 'Sunderland Theatre Organ Preservation Society' for installation in Ryhope Community Centre.

After a period of negotiation with the Sunderland council, a descision was made to install the organ in the Ryhope Community Centre, located at the junction of Black Road and Ryhope Street. The organ was officially 'switched on' by the Mayor on 28 March 1992, exactly 60 years from the original opening date. Today, concerts performed on the 3/9 Mighty Compton are held on a regular basis, usually about six or seven times a year.



A Closer Look At The Console


The 3/9 Mighty Compton Theatre Pipe Organ Opus A140 was originaly installed in the Blacks Regal/Odeon Cinema in 1932. In time for the grand opening show on Easter Monday March 28 of that same year, J. Arnold Eagle performed the opening concert at the organ, he also Conducted the orchestra to accompany the stage show.

The instrument is a three manual 9 rank unit organ, one of the early Cinema Pipe Organs built by the John Compton Company. Compton still wanted to be known as a builder of church or concert organs and not so much as a company that manufactured cinema or theatre organs. This resulted in the Mighty Sunderland Compton having a rather good concert sound.

Click here to download a 2304 x 3072 JPG image showing the console.
Console on lift.
Original photo by Carl Heslop

Click here to download a 3072 x 2304 JPG image showing the left bolster.
Left Bolster.
Original photo by Carl Heslop

Click here to download a 3072 x 2304 JPG image showing the left curve.
Left Curve.
Original photo by Carl Heslop

Click here to download a 3072 x 2304 JPG image showing right curve.
Right Curve.
Original photo by Carl Heslop

Click here to download a 3072 x 2304 JPG image showing right bolster.
Right Bolster.
Original photo by Carl Heslop



3/9 Mighty Compton Stop List


PEDAL

32' Acousitc Bass
16' Diaphone
16' Bourdon
16' Tuba
8' Octave Diapason
8' Tibia Clausa
8' Flute
8' Cello
8' Tuba
8' Trumpet
8' Carinet
4' Tibia
    Bass Drum Tap P
    Bass Drum Tap F
    Drum Roll
    Snare Drum
    Cymbal
    Triangle
    Tolling Bell
    Effects to Second   Touch
8' Accompaniment to Pedal
8' Great to Pedal
8' Solo to Pedal
GREAT

16' Diaphone
16' Tibia
16' Tuba
16' Trumpet TC
16' Clarinet TC
8' Diapason
8' Tibia Clausa
8' Flute
8' Viol (Violin)
8' Violin Celeste
8' Tuba
8' Trumpet
8' Clarinet
8' Vox Humana
4' Octave (Diapason)
4' Tibia.
4' Flute.
4' Violin.
4' Violin Celeste.
4' Clarion. (Tuba)
4' Trumpet.
2 2/3 Twelth (Diapason)
2' Flautino
2' Fifteenth (Diapason)
4' Chrysoglott
4' Vibraphone
4' Xylophone
4' Glockenspiel
4' Orchestral Bells
    Chimes
4' Solo to Great
ACCOMPANIMET

16' Contra Viole TC
16' Bourdon
16' Vox Humana
8' Diapason
8' Tibia
8' Tibia Clausa
8' Flute
8' Violin
8' Violin Celeste
8' Tuba
8' Clarinet
8' Vox Humana
4' Octave (Diapason)
4' Tibia
4' Viol (Violin)
4' Celeste
4' Vox Humana
4' Tuba
2.2/3 Twelth (Diapason)
2' Flautino
4' Vibraphone
4' Chrysoglott
    Snare Drum
    Tom-Tom
    Chinese Block
    Tambourine
    Castinets
    Sleigh Bells
    Sand Block
    Solo to Accompaniment
8' Tuba 2nd Touch
8' Clarinet 2nd Touch
    Solo To Accompaniment 2nd Touch
SOLO

16' Tibia 
16' Contra Viole TC 
16' Tuba 
16' Trumpet TC 
16' Clarinet TC 
16' Vox Humana TC
8' Diapason
8' Tibia Clausa 
8' Flute
8' Violin 
8' Celeste (Violin) 
8' Tuba 
8' Trumpet 
8' Clarinet 
8' Vox Humana 
4' Tibia
4' Flute 
4' Violin 
4' Celeste (Violin) 
4' Tuba (Clarion) 
2 2/3 Tibia (Twelth)
2' Ocarina. 
2' Flautino. 
1 3/5 Tierce (Seventeenth) 
4' Vibraphone. 
4' Glokenspiel. 
4' Orchestral Bells. 
  Chimes
TOE PISTONS LEFT

  Pedal Combination 1 
  Pedal Combination 2 
  Pedal Combination 3 
  Birds 
  Door Bell 
  Motor Horn

TOE PISTONS RIGHT
  Snare Drum / Grand Crash 
  Cymbal Roll 
  Train Whistle 
  Steam Boat Whistle 
  Siren
TREMULANTS

Celeste, Viol, Flute
Clarinet, Vox Humana, Tibia CC
Diapason, Trumpet
Tibia
Tuba

Click here to download a 1198 x 836 JPG image showing the playing table of the Mighty Compton.
Mighty Compton Playing Table
Original photo by Carl Heslop



A Closer Look At The Chambers


The organ has a 5 stage Discus blower driven by a 440volt 3 phase 7.5hp motor. A DC rectifier supplies current for the console stop tabs and lights, relay boards, chest magnets, ect. The pipework is set in two chambers, the Main on the left and the Solo on the right.

Pipe Ranks

  • Tibia
  • Tuba
  • Clarinet
  • Vox Humana
  • Trumpet
  • Violin
  • Violin Celeste
  • Diapason
  • Flute

Tuned Percussions

  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone
  • Glockenspiel
  • Chimes

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A Closer Look At The Theatre


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