The Penistone Cinema Organ Trust

Line drawing of the Compton Organ

June 2012

The Penistone Cinema Organ Trust are thrilled to have been awarded a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new project to restore and install an Art-Deco Compton Cinema Pipe Organ into a unique Cinema Organ Heritage and Restoration Centre in Barugh Green, Barnsley. Led by volunteers of The Penistone Cinema Organ Trust, "The Astoria Project" will offer an immediate number of volunteer opportunities to learn a wide range of traditional skills in cinema organ restoration & installation, its history and music. The restoration & installation of the 1934 Compton Organ, (which contains over 1,000 pipes) will take around 12 months and when completed, an exciting programme of publicly accessible events will commence. Links with education will offer a new generation the opportunity to learn about the musical heritage of the Cinema Organ and the important part it played in early cinema development, together with the use of the instrument in the 21st Century.

Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber said "The Astoria project will help conserve a wonderful piece of cinema organ history and open the experience of early cinema going to new audiences. By training volunteers in traditional restoration skills this project will help to support the heritage sector into the future."

Penistone Cinema Organ Trust Chairman, Kevin Grunill said "We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the work we are doing to preserve these magnificent instruments through the provision of this grant. The Trust recognised the need for a Cinema Organ Heritage and Restoration Centre a number of years ago in order to present these instruments in an accessible location, where they can be used for a wide range of events and activities. The Heritage Lottery Fund grant will enable visitors to learn about the history of the Cinema Organ and enjoy the music and varied sounds that can be produced from an instrument of this nature. By restoring parts of these instruments in our own workshops, we will be able to pass on traditional restoration skills to other groups or individuals".

The Penistone Cinema Organ Trust is a non-profit volunteer group that are responsible for the Compton Cinema Organ installed at the Penistone Paramount in South Yorkshire. Cinema organ concerts are presented by the Trust on a monthly basis at the Penistone Paramount, together with weekly concerts on Thursday lunchtime at St Andrew's Church in Penistone. The Penistone Cinema Organ Trust is funded by donations, grants and fundraising organ concerts. Donations to the "Astoria Project" can be made on-line or by cheque to PO Box 557, Barnsley. S70 9DE.

9th January 2011

The trust is currently working on a new project, to install the former Astoria, Purley Compton in its own premises. The premises will be the UK's first dedicated Theatre Organ Heritage & Restoration Centre. Based on the outskirts of Barnsley, only a mile or so from the M1, the venture will provide an auditorium, containing the Compton, together with displays and items related to the history of the Cinema Organ in the UK. The centre will be unique, in providing dedicated workshop facilities for Cinema Organ restoration, which will be made available to other groups or individuals. The "Astoria Project" has been kindly supported by many individuals, since being given the Compton last year by the Sheffield Theatre Organ Society, who had to vacate the City School, Sheffield, which had been their base for the past 40 years. At the end of 2010, the Penistone Cinema Organ Trust were successful in being granted substantial funding from South Yorkshire Community Foundation. The grant of 5,000 has been awarded to provide the restoration centre with workshop tools and equipment, which will be used in connection with Cinema Organ restoration.


The Stage with organ