Capital Organ Hits The Right Note

image of old organ

A historic organ is on the move as construction work begins to turn a celebrated Aberdeen theatre into a £30million office complex.

The original Compton organ from the Capitol Theatre, a venue that played host to the Rolling Stones in 1982 amongst a host of other famous acts, is to be removed from the building piece-by-piece by The Shore Porters Society and will be rehomed and restored by Aberdeen Theatre Organs Trust for future generations to enjoy.

The Capitol was opened in 1933 and was initially Aberdeen’s most luxurious cinema, with the Compton organ providing daily musical entertainment for visitors.

The site’s developer, Knight Property Group, has gifted the organ to Aberdeen Theatre Organs Trust in a move that will preserve its legacy for many years to come.

James Barrack, director of Knight Property Group, said: “At the heart of the Capitol redevelopment is a desire to bring new life to an iconic but derelict building. The front third of the building is being retained, with the art deco features being restored or, in many cases, reinstated.

“Preserving the organ was an absolute priority for us, but we feel it is best placed in the hands of local experts and in a location where it is easily accessible to the public as a whole. To this end, we are delighted to be gifting the organ to Aberdeen Theatre Organs Trust.”

Mike Thomson, secretary of Aberdeen Theatre Organs Trust, said: “The organ is one of only a handful of such instruments that has ever existed in Scotland.

“It’s a good example of the kind of instrument that entertained British cinema audiences from the 1930s until the 1950s and it’s our goal to restore it to its former glory.”

The organ, which comprises not just the console but eight ranks of pipes, percussions, windchests, electrical relays, a blower and an intricate network of wiring, will be transported to a temporary storage facility.

Euan Cuthbert, a partner at removal experts The Shore Porters’ Society, said: “At Shore Porters, we’re well-versed in moving historic artefacts, having worked with a range of objects in the past from James Bond’s car to antiques and family heirlooms.

“We’re proud to be involved in moving something as prestigious and intricate as the Capitol organ and we’re looking forward to overseeing its journey to its new home – it’s always a joy to be part of these interesting and different projects.”

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