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Stories of London: The Tower Ballroom and its Magnificent Organs

Introduction: London is a city rich in history and breathtaking landmarks. One such iconic venue is the Tower Ballroom, a place that holds not only remarkable stories but also mesmerizing music. Let's dive into the...

Introduction: London is a city rich in history and breathtaking landmarks. One such iconic venue is the Tower Ballroom, a place that holds not only remarkable stories but also mesmerizing music. Let's dive into the fascinating world of the Wurlitzer Theatre Organs that have graced this magnificent hall.

The Wurlitzer Theatre Organs of the Tower Ballroom

In the aftermath of the devastating fire in 1956, the Tower Ballroom's Console was rebuilt using parts from the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. This particular instrument, known as Opus 2228, had originally been installed at the Gaumont Cinema Holloway. The Console of the new Wurlitzer Theatre Organ glided forward on rails before the fire, but the replacement Console was designed to be safely stored in the pit when not in use.

Wurlitzer Tower Caption: The majestic Wurlitzer Theatre Organ at the Tower Ballroom

The rails that were once used to transport the Console are now utilized for the Tower Ballroom's Electronic Organ. This remarkable adaptation ensures that the music continues to resonate throughout this historic space.

Reginald Dixon: The Heart and Soul of the Ballroom

From 1930 until Easter Sunday 1970, Reginald Dixon held the position of resident organist at the Tower Ballroom. Revered and adored, he was affectionately known as Mr. Blackpool by his dedicated audience. His performances were nothing short of magical, and his talent echoed through the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ.

DIXON-REGINALD-GRANADA-WOOLWICH-reduced Caption: Reginald Dixon at the Granada Theatre Woolwich

Mr. Dixon's contributions extended beyond live performances. He made numerous broadcasts and gramophone recordings, both at the Tower Ballroom and other Theatre Organs across the country. In recognition of his immense talent and dedication, he was awarded the M.B.E. in 1956. Regrettably, Mr. Dixon passed away on May 9th, 1985, and was cremated at Carleton Crematorium, Blackpool.

Ernest Broadbent and Phil Kelshall: Continuing the Legacy

After Reginald Dixon's departure, Ernest Broadbent stepped in as the resident organist. Although his tenure was cut short due to ill-health in 1977, his contribution left an everlasting impression on the Tower Ballroom. Phil Kelshall then took the helm, becoming the new resident organist. To this day, Phil Kelshall continues to captivate audiences with his remarkable talent and was also honored with the M.B.E. in 2010.

Ernest Broadbent Caption: Ernest Broadbent at the Free Trade Hall

Phil Kelsall 2 Caption: Phil Kelshall, the current resident organist

The Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer Theatre Organ: A Magnet for Talent

The Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer Theatre Organ holds a special place in the hearts of organists from all over the world. Countless renowned musicians have had the privilege of playing this majestic instrument, enchanting audiences with its haunting melodies and electrifying performances. It is no wonder that aspiring organists aspire to have the opportunity to perform on this prestigious stage.

The Wurlitzer Caption: The awe-inspiring Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer Theatre Organ

Nigel Ogden Caption: Nigel Ogden, paying homage to Reginald Dixon

Conclusion

The Tower Ballroom and its magnificent Wurlitzer Theatre Organs have shaped the musical landscape of London for decades. From Reginald Dixon's enchanting performances to the seamless transition between organists, this iconic venue continues to be a beacon for exceptional talent. The allure of the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer Theatre Organ is unparalleled, and it will forever hold a prominent place in the hearts of music enthusiasts worldwide.

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