History of Harworth Christie Organ Enthusiasts

The H.O.E was formed in 1971 by Mr. Stan Morris, with a view to eventually owning and preserving one of the Theatre Organs still installed in a cinema around the country.

During the first year of existence, concerts were held in the adjacent Miners Institute, using the Hammond RT3.

His dream of a theatre organ became reality quicker than imagined, as it was in 1972 the society became aware of the Christie in the Regal Cinema, Durham, being up for sale.

The Christie was originally installed in the Regal Cinema, Durham and opened on March 27 1934 with Herbert Maxwell at the console. The organ was a two manual console operating 7 units of pipes: Tibia, Diapason, Tuba, Viol, Clarinet, Vox and Flute. Numbered 2912, it was installed by Blacket & Howden, organ builders of Byker.

A party of committee members, together with Dr Arnold Loxam, journeyed to Durham to assess its possibilities. Shortly after a bid was made and accepted, to buy the Christie and transport it back to Harworth, North Nottinghamshire. This was done over two weekends, working through the night after the film had finished, one weekend the driver making two journeys back and forth to Durham , approximately 400 miles in total.

The Christie was refurbished in the old wages office at the colliery, before being installed in the Welfare Hall during the summer of 1973. On the 30th September 1973, it was opened to the public for the first time, in front of an audience of 500, featuring Robin Richmond and David Hamilton as organists.

As time progressed, Dr Arnold Loxam was to become President, with David Hamilton as Vice President.

By 1977, the society had purchased a lift for the organ from a cinema in Stratford, London, and this was installed in complete secrecy after the November concert and in time for the Christmas Concert in December 1977, obviously there was great delight when the organ appeared from below stage level for the very first time in the hands of Mr. Arnold Loxam.

During those early years, a Club night was held on Tuesday evenings, when members could come along and have a go on the Christie and it was from these club nights that youngsters such as Andrew Nix, David Redfern, Philip Randles and Joanne Naulls, took their first steps on the road to fame within the organ world.

Since these early beginnings, a third keyboard has been added, along with a Diaphone, Trumpet, Krumhorn, String Celeste and Xylophone, the society have also added a Phantom Piano on stage, making the organ a 3/10 instrument.

Approximately three thousand pounds were spent about ten years ago on stage lighting which is now claimed to be one of the best stage set ups to be found anywhere in the organ world.