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Troxy’s Wurlitzer theatre organ turning clock in the Commercial Road back 80 years

PUBLISHED: 09:10 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 13 September 2018

The Troxy's mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ. Picture source: Troxy

The Troxy's mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ. Picture source: Troxy

Troxy

The Troxy is slipping back through a timewarp on September 23 with a nostalgic performance on its historic Wurlitzer theatre organ.

Len Rawle at the keyboard of the Troxy's Wurlitzer theatre organ. Picture: SaltaireLen Rawle at the keyboard of the Troxy's Wurlitzer theatre organ. Picture: Saltaire

The art deco venue in Stepney that first opened in 1933 as a posh cinema turns the calendar back more than eight decades as Len Rawle sits at the four-keyboard instrument to fill the huge auditorium with tunes from 1,700 pipes on both sides of the theatre.

Len is no stranger to the world of the pipe organ, having lived with one of these monsters in his purpose-built house in Chorleywood for half a century.

The Troxy’s Wurlitzer was the largest ever installed in a European cinema, originally in the Trocadero in Elephant and Castle in the 1930s.

The Troxy in the Commercial Road. Picture: ArchantThe Troxy in the Commercial Road. Picture: Archant

It was saved by the Cinema Organ Society when the Trocadero was demolished in the 1960s and later installed in the South Bank University where it remained until 2004.

It finally found its way to the Troxy in the Commercial Road in 2015, the first theatre organ to be installed in a major British cinema building for more than 80 years, replacing its original Wurlitzer which was removed in the 1960s.

The Troxy, which closed as a cinema in the early 1960s to become a bingo hall, then the London Opera Centre rehearsal auditorium, first opened in 1933 with King Kong, starring Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong.

The week the Troxy first opened in 1933 with King King, starring Fay Wray. Picture: Tower Hamlets ArchiveThe week the Troxy first opened in 1933 with King King, starring Fay Wray. Picture: Tower Hamlets Archive

Tickets for the September 23 Wurlitzer concert are on the door or in advance from the Troxy online, starts at 3.30pm.

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